MEHEMMED ALI PASHA, the victorious pacificator of Egypt and Arabia, is already renowned in the civilized world. Egypt, once the home of discord and the headquarters of anarchy, under his administration has long enjoyed peace and prosperity; is permeable in all directions, and in perfect safety to the merchant and the traveler, and is yearly progressing in wealth and improvement.1
The Viceroy has been particularly attentive to revive and extend those commercial relations of Egypt with the surrounding countries, which once rendered it the richest and most flourishing territory in the ancient world.
A well chosen library of the best European books on the art military, geography, astronomy, medicine, history, belles-lettres and the fine arts has been purchased from Europe by the Viceroy and placed in the palace of Ismael Pasha, where is also a school, at the Viceroy's expense, for the instruction of the Mussulman youth in the Italian language and the sciences of the Franks. To which establishments has been lately added a printing press, for printing books in the Turkish, Arabic and Persian languages, and a weekly newspaper in Arabic and Italian. The library and the press are under the superintendence of Osman Noureddin Effendi, a young Turk of great good sense, and who is well versed in the literature of Europe, where he has resided for several years, by order of the Viceroy, for his education: he is at present engaged in translating into Turkish some works on tactics, for the use of his countrymen.
For several years past the inland commerce of this favored land had suffered great interruptions from the confusion and discord to which the countries on the Upper Nile have been a prey. The chiefs of Shageia had formed themselves into a singular aristocracy of brigands, and pillaged all the provinces and caravans within their reach, without mercy and without restraint; while the civil wars, which have distracted the once powerful kingdom of Sennaar for these last eighteen years, had occasioned an almost entire cessation of a commerce, from which Egypt had derived great advantages.
His Highness the Viceroy, in consequence, determined, as the most effectual means of putting an end to these disorders, to subject those countries to his dominion.
Four thousand troops were accordingly put under the command of Ismael Pasha, the youngest son of the Viceroy, with orders to conquer all the provinces on the Nile, from the Second Cataract to Sennaar inclusive.
Through the influence of the recommendation of Henry Salt, Esq., His Britannic Majesty's Consul General in Egypt, I was ordered by the Viceroy to accompany this expedition, with the rank of Topgi Bashi, i.e. a chief of artillery, and with directions to propose such plans of operation to the Pasha Ismael as I should deem expedient, but which the Pasha might adopt or reject as he should think proper.
This expedition has been perfectly successful; and the conquest of the extensive and fertile countries, which, in the reign of Candace, repulsed the formidable legions of Rome, has been effected at an expense not greater than the blood of about two hundred soldiers.
The principal cause of a success so extraordinary, at such a price, has been the humanity and good faith of the Pasha Ismael towards those provinces that submitted without fighting. Perfect security of person and property was assured to the peaceable, and severe examples were made of those few of the soldiery, who, in a very few instances, presumed to violate it. The good consequences of this deportment toward the people of these countries have been evident. All have seen that those who have preferred peace before war have had peace without war, and that those who preferred war before peace have not had peace but at the price of ruin.
The destruction or disarmament of the brigands, who have heretofore pillaged those countries with impunity—the establishment of order and tranquility—the security now assured to the peasants and the caravans—and the annexment of so many fine provinces and kingdoms to the sway of the Viceroy of Egypt,2 are not the only consequences of this expedition that will give him glory.
This expedition has laid open to the researches of the geographer and the antiquarian a river and a country highly interesting, and hitherto imperfectly known to the civilized world. The Nile, on whose banks we have marched for so many hundred miles, is the most famous river in the world, for the uncertainty of its source and the obscurity of its course. At present this obscurity ceases to exist, and before the return of the Pasha Ismael this uncertainty will probably be no more. The countries we have traversed are renowned in history and poetry as the land of ancient and famous nations, which have established and overthrown mighty empires, and have originated the religions, the learning, the arts, and the civilization of nations long since extinct; and who have been preceded by their instructors in the common road which every thing human must travel.
This famous land of Cush and Saba, at present overawed by the camps of the Osmanii, has presented to our observation many memorials of the power and splendor of its ancient masters. The remains of cities once populous—ruined temples once magnificent—colossal statues of idols once adored, but now prostrated by the strong arms of time and truth—and more than a hundred pyramids, which entomb the bodies of kings and conquerors once mighty, but whose memory has perished, have suspended for awhile the march of our troops—have attracted the notice of the Franks, who voyage with the army with the favor and the protection of the Pasha,3 and which doubtless ere long, by engaging the attention and researches of men of learning, will unite the names of Mehemmed Ali and Ismael his son with the history and monuments of this once famous and long secluded land, in a manner that will make the memory of both renowned and inseparable.
That the further progress of the Pasha Ismael southward of his present position will be successful, there is every reason to believe; and I derive great pleasure from the reflection, that his success will still further augment the glory of the man whom the Sultan delights to honor, and who has done so much for the honor of the Mussulmans.
The Reader will find that I have sometimes, in the course of this Journal, included the events of several days in the form of narrative, particularly in my account of the Second Cataract. Wherever I have so done, it has been occasioned by paroxysms of a severe ophthalmia, which afflicted me for fifteen months, and rendered me at times incapable of writing.
I arrived at the camp at Wady Haifa on the Second Cataract, on the 16th of the moon Zilhadge, in the year of the Hegira 3255,4 where I found about four thousand troops,5 consisting of Turkish cavalry, infantry and artillery, and a considerable proportion of Bedouin cavalry and Mogrebin foot soldiers, besides about one hundred and twenty large boats loaded with provisions and ammunition, and destined to follow the march of the army to the upper countries of the Nile.
17th of Zilhadge. Presented myself to his Excellency the Pasha Ismael, by whom I was received in a very nattering manner, and presented with a suit of his own habiliments.
On my asking his Excellency if he had any orders for me, he replied, that he was at present solely occupied in expediting the loading and forwarding the boats carrying the provisions of the army, but that when that was finished he would send for me to receive his commands.
I employed this interval in noticing the assemblage that composed the army. The chiefs and soldiers I found well disposed to do their duty, through attachment to their young commander and through fear of Mehemmed Ali. They were alert to execute what orders they received, and very busy in smoking their pipes when they had nothing else to do.
On the 19th I was sent for by the Pasha, with whom I remained in private audience for an hour.
On the 21st of the moon Zilhadge was attacked by that distressing malady the ophthalmia. In two days the progress of the disorder was such that my eyes were closed up and incapable of supporting the light, and occasioned me such acute anguish that I could get no sleep but by the effect of laudanum. This misfortune at this crisis was peculiarly vexatious and mortifying for me, as it put it out of my power to accompany the Pasha, who departed with the army for Dongola on the 26th, taking his route on the west bank of the river, and leaving the Divan Effendi and a small party of soldiers to expedite the loading and forwarding the boats that had not as yet got ready to proceed up the Cataract.
On the 3d of Mofiarram, A. H. 1236, I embarked on board the boat of the Frank surgeons attached to the army, and left the lower or north end of the Second Cataract as it is commonly styled in the maps, in company with fifteen boats to follow and rejoin the army.
I would here observe that what is called the Second Cataract is properly a succession of partial falls and swift rapids for more than a hundred miles before we arrived at Succoot. I counted nine; some of them, particularly the second,6 fifth,7 seventh,8 and ninth,9 very dangerous to pass, though at this time the Nile had fallen but a few feet. Before we arrived at the fifth, two boats were wrecked against the rocks which crowd the rapids, and one filled and sunk; and before we had passed the ninth several similar accidents had taken place. To pass the fifth and ninth rapids, it was necessary to employ about a hundred men to drag the boats one after another against the current. At the fifth pass, several of the boats were damaged, and two soldiers and two boatmen drowned. At this pass, the river is interrupted by a ledge of rocks reaching nearly across, and over which the Nile falls. Between this ledge of rocks and the western shore of the river is a practicable passage, wide enough to admit a boat to be hauled up the current, which here runs furiously. Overlooking this passage are two hills, one on the east and one on the west side of the river: on these hills are the ruins of ancient fortifications. They are also surmounted by two small temples in the Egyptian style: that on the west side is almost perfect. It is sculptured exteriorly and interiorly with figures and hieroglyphics, and the ceiling is painted azure.10
The appearance of the country on each side of the falls is similar to that of the country south of Assuan—a sandy desert studded with rocky hills and mountains, The only appearance of vegetation observable was in some of the islands and on the immediate banks of the river, where we met at every mile or two with small spots of fertile ground, some of them cultivated and inhabited. The rocky hills consist frequently of beautiful black granite, of the color and brilliancy of the best sea-coal. Here and there, at different points on the Cataract, I observed some forts built by the natives of the country. They are constructed of unhewn stones cemented with mud, and flanked by towers and angular projections something resembling bastions, and are pierced with loopholes for musquetry. Their interior presents the following appearance:—against the interior side of the walls all round are built low chambers, communicating by small doors with the area and frequently with each other. I could observe nothing in these chambers except the bottom part of the small handmills used by the Orientals to grind meal, which could not be hastily removed as they were fixed in the ground; every thing else the inhabitants had carried off on the approach of the army. The great area in the centre of these forts appeared to have been occupied by the camels and flocks of the inhabitants; some of these forts are to be seen surmounting the high rocky islands with which the Second Cataract abounds, and make a picturesque appearance.
On the 2d of the moon Safa, we passed what our Rais erroneously told us was the last rapid between us and Succoot. We have been thirty days in getting thus far,11 the causes of our having been so long in getting up the Falls were several. The crews of the boats which had passed unhurt a dangerous passage were frequently detained to unload and repair those which had been wrecked or damaged.—We have been detained at the entrances of these rapids frequently for several days, for want of a sufficient wind, it being absolutely necessary that the wind should be very strong to enable the boats to force themselves through currents running between the rocks with dreadful rapidity; and more than once the boatmen have hesitated to attempt a dangerous pass till obliged by the presence and menaces of the Divan Effendi who accompanied the boats.
On the 3d of Safa, about an hour after we had passed what our Rais told us was the last rapid of consequence we should have to encounter, we saw the wreck of a boat lying against a rock in the middle of the river, her masts alone appearing out of the water. The river here is interrupted by several high insulated rocks. We had been assured that we should now find the river open and without difficulty, till we should come to Succoot; the appearance of this boat seemed to contradict this representation, and in about an hour after we had abundant reason to be satisfied that it was false. I was congratulating myself that we had got into smooth water, and indulging myself with a tranquil pipe of tobacco, when suddenly the wind slackened just as we were passing between two ledges of rocks where the river was running at the rate of about six knots an hour. The current overpowered the effort of the sails, and carried the boat directly among the reefs, near the west bank of the river. After remaining for about ten minutes in a very perilous position, the skill of our Rais happily got the boat to shore without injury.
3d of Safa. We remained all night at the place where we landed; in the morning got under sail to pass the strong current we had attempted yesterday without success. After buffeting about for an hour we were forced to return to the bank of the river, and await a stronger wind. In about an hour after the wind freshened and we got under way with better fortune, and after passing the current before mentioned found ourselves in smooth water. After sailing for an hour we stopped for ten minutes at a place where we saw sheep, in order to purchase some, having for the last twenty days been obliged to live on bread, rice, and lentils. Succeeded in purchasing two lambs. The banks of the river hereabouts present some fertile spots, a few of them cultivated. About noon the wind fell and the Rais put to shore; we immediately set our domestics about preparing the purchased meat, and shortly after we sat down to this regale, which appeared to me the most delicious meal I had eaten for many years.12 Remained here for the remainder of the day.
4th of Safa. Continued in the same place, there not being sufficient wind to ascend the river. About two hours after noon arrived an Arab from above; he was on his way to the Divan Effendi, who was a few miles below us, to inform him that a boat, of which he had been one of the crew, had been dashed to pieces against the rocks in attempting to pass a rapid. I demanded of him "how many rapids there were yet ahead;" he replied "that there were several; how many he did not exactly know." This intelligence made me apprehensive that we might be another month in getting through these obstacles, and determined me to renew my efforts to obtain camels and proceed to the Pasha by land. I had made several attempts to hire some for this purpose, during the last fifteen days, without success. The man above mentioned informed me that I could probably obtain some at a village about six hours off. I determined to send my servants on the morrow to inquire.
5th of Safa. Passed the night at the same place; early in, the morning a favorable breeze sprung up and the Rais got the boat under sail. Was obliged, in consequence, to proceed in the boat as long as the wind held. Observed as we proceeded a number of fertile spots, some of them cultivated, and a few small villages. I was informed that these will become more frequent as we proceed. During this day, with a favorable wind, made only about twelve miles against the current.
6th of Safa. Got under way about two hours after sunrise, with a strong breeze from the northward. About half an hour after quitting the land, passed a dangerous rapid, occasioned by a. reef of rocks reaching nearly across the river. In passing this rapid the wind slackened for half a minute, and the current carried the boat astern to within six or seven feet of the rocks; at this critical instant the wind happily freshened, and forced the boat up the current, to the great relief of all on board. An hour after, passed a picturesque spot, where the river is divided by a high rocky island, supporting on its summit some ruined fortifications made by the natives; on the right bank of the river, just opposite, is a fertile spot of ground and a village, surrounded by date trees and plantations.
Our Rais put to land about noon, the wind falling, and rocks and rapids of formidable appearance being right ahead.13 We have made about eight miles to-day. Saw about two miles above us a number of boats lying to the shore, apparently obstructed by the rapid just mentioned. About the middle of the afternoon, in walking along the shore, saw a crocodile; it was small, about three feet in length. When I came upon him, he was sunning himself on the shore; on seeing me, he ran with great rapidity and plunged into the river.
7th of Safa. Got under way about two hours after sunrise, to pass the rocks and rapids already mentioned. The passage was dangerous, and the boat thrice in imminent peril. We struck once on rocks under water, where the current was running probably at the rate of six knots an hour.
The current, after about ten minutes, swept the boat off without having received a hole in her bottom, otherwise we must probably have perished. Shortly after we were jammed between a great shallow whirlpool and a large boat on our starboard beam. This boat was dashed by the current against ours, and menaced to shove her into the whirlpool. The long lateen yards of the two boats got entangled, and I was prepared to leap into the other boat, in anticipation of the destruction of ours, when the wind freshened, and the large boat was enabled to get clear of ours. Not long after, the same boat fell aboard of us the second time, in a place where, if our boat had drifted twice her length to leeward or astern, she must have run upon rocks. All these accidents befell us, having under our eyes, at no great distance from us, the wreck of a boat lost in this passage three or four days ago.14 After being for about two hours in danger, the boat arrived at the west bank of the river, where we found many more waiting a sufficient wind to be enabled to clear the remainder of the rapid, which runs very strong here.
Stayed for a wind at this place two days. On the 10th of Safa, the boat happily passed the remainder of the rapid, when the wind calmed, and the Rais put to shore, there being yet a strong current to surmount. Opposite to the place where we were, at about half a mile from the shore, a boat had stuck fast upon some rocks this morning, all attempts to get her off had proved unsuccessful, and she remained in that position, with all her company on board, till next morning.
11th of Safa. Quitted the shore about an hour after sunrise, with a fine northerly wind. Passed the boat just mentioned, whose people looked very forlorn. Some small boats were then on the way to unload this boat, should it be found impossible to disengage her. Proceeded on our way, and passed a number of small but pretty islands, lying near the west bank of the river. They are cultivated and inhabited by a considerable population. The country on the borders of the river begins to assume a better appearance—the territory of Succoot, which we were now entering, containing many villages. Beyond the green banks of the river, all is yellow desert, spotted with brown rocky mountains, which, however, appeared to decrease in number and height as we advanced up the river, till the country subsided into a plain, with a few isolated mountains of singular forms and picturesque appearance here and there in view. About two hours after mid-day we arrived at a place where the river is embarrassed by small rocks and shoals, except a narrow pass on the western side. We found the current here too strong to be surmounted by the aid of what wind we had, and therefore put to shore on a very fine island on our left. We passed the remainder of the day here with satisfaction. This island is about a mile and a half in length, naturally beautiful, and well cultivated by about fifty or sixty inhabitants, who seemed to be well contented with their situation.15 We saw here three men of about twenty-five years of age, who had been circumcised but five days past, a thing I had never before known to have occurred to the children of Mussulmans.
12th of Safa. At an early hour, quitted the shore with a strong northerly wind, to pass the current which had stopped us yesterday. This day's sail was the most agreeable of any we had enjoyed since we left Egypt, the river, since we had passed the rapids of Dall, (where the second cataract of the Nile properly commences,) having become as broad as in Egypt, and now flowing tranquilly through a country equally fertile, and much more picturesque than the finest parts of Said. The eastern bank of the river, particularly, presented a continual succession of villages, and fine soil crowded with trees, and all cultivated. Passed, during the day, some fine and large islands, also occupied by numerous villages. We stopped at night at one of these islands, by whose beautiful borders we had been sailing with great pleasure for more than four hours, with a stiff breeze. We were in formed by the inhabitants, that this island was a day's walk in breadth. They said, that, as we advanced, we should find others as large and larger. Their island, they told us, was called Syee. They appeared to be well satisfied with their condition, having an abundance of every thing absolutely needful for a comfortable subsistence, and decent clothing of their own manufacture. What surprised me not a little, was to find the people as white as the Arabs of Lower Egypt, whereas the inhabitants of Nubia are quite black, though their features are not those of the Negro.
I have observed, that the country through which we passed to-day, was as fertile and much more picturesque than the Said. The reason for the latter part of this assertion is, that in the Said the view is limited by the ridges of barren and calcined mountains that bound it on both sides, whereas here the view ranges over plains bounded only by the horizon, and interspersed here and there with isolated mountains of most singular forms. Some of them might be mistaken for pyramids, they are so regular and well defined; some resembled lofty cones, and others resembled lofty square or pentagonal redoubts. One of the latter description lies upon the eastern bank of the river, and could easily be made an impregnable fortress, which could command all water communication between Egypt and Dongola. The scenes of verdure and cultivation through which we had passed today, removed all suspicions from my mind as to what had been reported to me of the great difference between Nubia and the country beyond it.
All the villages we have passed to-day, have in their centre a fort or castle, fortified with towers at the corners, and, judging from those we visited, resembling in their interior those on the cataract already described. The village, consisting of low huts, built of mud, is built round the walls of the fort, which is intended to serve as a place of retreat and defense for the inhabitants and their flocks, in case of alarm or attack. They are governed in the manner of the families of the patriarchs, the Sheck of the village being both judge and captain. Saw at this island a small skiff, the first boat belonging to the inhabitants of the country that I have seen since quitting Wady Halfa.
12th of Safa, Parted from the land about an hour after sunrise and proceeded on our voyage, which was, if possible, still more agreeable than that of yesterday. On the east bank of the river, the eye rests on a continued succession of villages, occupying land of the finest quality, and lying under a continued forest of palm trees, larger and taller, in my opinion, than those growing in Egypt. On the right we saw, as we passed, a chain of beautiful islands, some of them large and presenting the same spectacle as the east bank. It is certainly a beautiful country. The river from Assuan has only about half the breadth that it has in Egypt. In this country it is as broad, and in many places, on account of the large islands it here contains, very much broader than it is in Egypt. We stopped at night at one of these fine islands, whose breadth being but about two miles, enabled us to have a view of the west bank of the river, which presented the same succession of villages and cultivation as on the oriental side. I have already observed, that the date trees of this country were larger and taller than those in Egypt. We found a similar difference in the animals of this country; I purchased a sucking lamb, which was certainly as big as an Egyptian sheep of a year's growth. The cattle of this country differ from those of Egypt, in bearing, as to form, a resemblance to the buffalo. They have a rising on the shoulder, and a similar form of the hips. They are also larger than the cows of Egypt.
14th of Safa. The wind did not spring up this morning till a late hour, and after continuing for about an hour and a half, fell calm. We put to shore on the western bank of the river, where we passed the remainder of the day and the night. The country continued fine and crowded with villages. At this place, some of the boat's company attempted to shoot a hippopotamus, who had shown himself several times during the day. They succeeded only in slightly wounding him, after which he disappeared. The people of the country say that there are twelve that frequent this place in the river, which contains here some low islands, well adapted to afford them food and concealment.
16th of Safa. Parted from the land about two hours after sunrise, with a strong breeze. After continuing an hour and a half the wind subsided into a calm, which obliged us to make for the shore. We landed on a large island resembling those already mentioned, where we passed the remainder of the day and the night. The country we had passed resembled that below, beautiful, and as fertile as land can be.
16th of Safa. Left the land about an hour after sunrise, and in half an hour passed the southern boundary of the beautiful territory of Succoot, and entered the province of Machass. The country we were now passing is naturally fertile, but has not such a continued succession of villages as Succoot. About three hours after sunrise came in view of the ruins of an ancient temple on the west bank. With some difficulty engaged the Rais to put to shore for a few minutes, to give me an opportunity of visiting it. This temple is manifestly of Egyptian architecture; it is about two hundred feet long from east to west; ten of the columns only are standing; they are composed of separate blocks of a brown stone resembling that employed in the construction of the temples in the isle of Philoe. The walls of this temple are in ruins, except a part of the front which is in a very dilapidated state. The front faces the East; the pillars and the ruins of the walls are sculptured with hieroglyphics. It stands on the west bank of the river about two miles beyond the territory of Succoot. About an hour after leaving this place, the wind falling, our Rais was obliged to put to shore. We soon arrived at the western bank of the river, the Nile being in this place not a mile broad. The remainder of the day being calm, we staid here till next morning. Several of the Pasha's Cavalry passed along the west bank of the river yesterday and to-day, bearing repeated orders from Dongola to the commanders of the boats to hasten their progress.
17th of Safa. At an early hour started with a favorable wind, but in about two hours were obliged to put to shore. The river hereabouts makes several turns almost at right angles with each other. This circumstance brought the wind directly ahead in one of the bends and obliged us to remain there till next morning. The country we saw to-day is not equal to the territory of Succoot; the date trees, the villages, and the cultivation are not so continued; and the view from the river is bounded at a little distance from its banks by low rocky hills. Saw to-day a singular mode of navigating the river; a man, who apparently was traveling down the river with his whole family, had placed his youngest wife and her two young children on a small raft made of bundles of corn-stalks lashed together, he himself swam by its side to guide it, while he kept his old wife a swimming and pushing it by the stern, and in this way they proceeded down the river.
I have seen in this country small rafts made to carry one person, which are very well contrived. Three or four large empty gourds are fastened firmly to a small oblong frame made out of the branches of the date tree, the whole not weighing two pounds. A man may go safely down or across the river on this, either by fastening it to his breast and swimming supported by it, or by riding on it astride; and when on shore he can carry it with ease either in his hand or on his shoulder.
18th of Safa, In the morning found that the wind had changed a little in our favor, got under way, but after sailing for about two hours the winding of the river again brought it ahead. Put to shore and staid there till the middle of the afternoon, when the wind again hauled a little in our favor, and with some difficulty we got to windward of the shore and proceeded up the river. The river here is about half a mile broad, and makes several turns which somewhat retarded our progress. We observed some rocks and shoals, and on arriving at a place where the river is divided by a large rocky island, observed a boat aground, which had taken the right hand passage which was the broadest, and two others turning back to take the passage on the other side of this island. We followed their example, and found the passage safe enough. A little beyond the upper end of this island the river makes an acute angle to the right hand. We proceeded onwards till sunset, when we put to shore in company with two other boats. The country we have passed through to-day resembled that we saw yesterday, inferior to the fine territory of Succoot.
19th of Safa, Left the land an hour and a half after sunrise, with a fine breeze from the north. Sailed for about an hour through a country where the rocky hills come down here and there close to the river banks and narrowed the usual breadth of the Nile considerably. Observed however in this tract of country a few fine and cultivated islands. Shortly after the river widened, the rocky hills retired at a distance, and the eye rested with pleasure on a beautiful country cultivated by the inhabitants of a continued succession of villages and castles which occupied both banks of the river. The country resembled the province of Succoot, except that the date trees were not so numerous nor so tall and large. Passed the ruins of a considerable fortified town situated on a high hill on the west bank. A little beyond this place saw the ruins of a temple; four of the columns are yet standing; could not go ashore to examine it, as the wind was fair and strong, and the Rais under positive orders to proceed with all expedition. Observed that several of the castles we had passed yesterday and to-day appeared newer and better constructed for defense than those we had seen along the Cataract. I suspect that they were erected under the direction of the exiled Mamalukes, as this tract forms a part of the territory subject to them before the arrival of the Pasha Ismael. Continued to advance, through a country very beautiful, the river here embosoming several large and delightful islands, capable of being made, by the hands of enlightened industry, every thing that the art of man operating upon a fine soil under a soft climate could effect. We sailed pleasantly by these charming shores and islands till an hour and a half before sunset, when we came in view of a rapid ahead, and the wreck of a boat lost in passing it. The Rais put to shore, and after taking on board a native of the country to show him the passage through the rocks and shallows, attempted to pass immediately; the effort was unsuccessful. After remaining in the foaming passage for three quarters of an hour, we found that the wind was not strong enough to force the boat through the current, and as the sun was about setting and the wind falling, the Rais was obliged to let the boat drift back to the shore from whence we had departed.
18th of Safa. At about two hours after sunrise, the Rais thought the wind sufficiently favorable and strong to carry the boat through the rapid. We quitted the shore, and again faced the current. The Rais this time was not mistaken; our boat forced her way slowly but victoriously through the torrent, and in about three quarters of an hour carried us safely into smooth water, where we could draw every advantage from a fine wind, which swept us rapidly up the river between shores fertile and cultivated by the inhabitants of a continued succession of villages shaded by palm trees. About an hour after we had passed the rapid, we stopped to receive on board three of our company who had left the boat yesterday in search of fresh provisions on the western bank of the river. They reported that they had seen a large pond of fresh water inland, and had found the country for seven miles from the river crowded with villages, and as fertile as possible. They represented that this country was watered by two ranges of water-wheels; one range on the bank of the river, which threw the water of the Nile into small canals leading to reservoirs inland, from whence the other range took it up and distributed it to this fine territory. About noon we passed, on the east bank, two very high, large and isolated rocks of irregular and picturesque forms. On the side of the southernmost were the remains of a considerable fortified town. The country hereabouts is very beautiful. About three o'clock we passed another rapid, which was not however very difficult. Found the river beyond this place much narrowed and impeded by rocks. Passed two more rapids, the first of little consequence, but the latter somewhat dangerous. In this last rapid saw two boys sitting on a raft made of cornstalks lashed together, and driving down the current. They appeared to be much at their ease, and not at all alarmed at the rapid, though the current frequently whirled their fragile raft round and round as it rushed past us. Soon after passing this rapid the sun set, and we put to shore to pass the night.
19th of Safa. About two hours after sunrise we left the shore with a fair and fresh breeze. The river here is broad, and the country on both banks fertile and peopled. After about an hour's sail we came up with some beautiful islands, one of them very large and among the finest we had seen. The islands above the Second Cataract are probably the most beautiful spots watered by the Nile, which rarely over flows them. They are the most populous and best cultivated parts of this country. Half an hour after we came up with the large island, the wind became squally, and the boat could not make safe progress. Our rais therefore put to shore, as did those of five other boats in company with ours. We remained here for the rest of the day.
20th of Safa. In the morning, left the laud with the wind almost ahead. After sailing about three miles, the rais found it necessary to put to shore, as the wind was strong and too much ahead. Stayed by the land till nearly noon, when the wind appearing to me and others on board, more favorable, we, after some hard words with the rais, persuaded him to get under way, the wind being about the same as in the morning, and very strong. In about an hour we arrived at a bend in the river, which enabled us to bring the wind aft.
We proceeded with great rapidity, threading the rocks and shoals with which the river here abounds, till we came in view of a rapid ahead. We had been informed, two days ago, that there was a dangerous rapid between us and Dongola, and we congratulated ourselves that the wind was fair and strong to push us through it; we passed it happily, though not without peril. We felicitated ourselves on having cleared the only obstacle, as we supposed, between us and the place of our destination, when we came in view of another, of a more formidable appearance than any we had yet seen. The passage lay where the river rolled furiously over rocks under water, and between shores there was no approaching, on account of the shoals and rocks above and under water which lined them. The strong wind forced our boat alongside of another that was struggling and reeling in the passage, to the imminent danger of both. To clear this boat, our rais ventured to pass ours over a place where the foam and fury of the water indicated latent rocks. We hardly dared to breathe, but we did not strike here, but half a minute after we were fast upon a sand bank. We stayed in this condition for about a quarter of an hour, having in view close by us the wreck of a boat lost here. With considerable difficulty our boat was disengaged, when we put her before the wind and again faced this truly infernal pass. By the force of the current, the boat neared a large and furious whirlpool, formed by an eddy on the side of the passage. The steersman endeavored, in vain, to counteract this drift of the boat by the aid of the rudder. The side of the boat approached to within a yard of the white foam which covered this dreadful spot. Our rais tore his turban from his head, and lifted his clasped hands to Heaven, exclaiming, "We are lost!" The rest of the boatmen were screaming to God and the prophet for aid, when, I know not how, but by the good Providence that watched over us, the boat cleared this peril, and others that beset us in passing yet two more rapids almost as dangerous. On passing the last, we found the river divided lengthways, by a ridge of rocks and low islands covered with verdure. On the right or west side of this ridge, where we were, the view ahead presented our side of the river crowded with rocks, which we could not pass. The singular ridge already mentioned, presented, however, some gaps, which afforded passages into that part of the river that was on the other side of this ridge. We passed through what appeared to us the safest of these gaps, and soon after found ourselves in smooth but shallow water: the river hereabouts being not less than five or six miles broad, and spotted with rocks and little green islands and ridges. Soon after, a boat ahead grounded, and stuck fast for some time: about five minutes after, our boat received a violent shock from a rock under water. The rais put the boat under her foresail only, in order that in case she struck, it might be with as little force as possible. Shortly after, it being about an hour before sunset, the rais put to shore to inquire of the people of the country as to the condition of the river ahead.
The country we saw this day, on both sides of the river, is a level plain; only one hill was visible. The shores, and many of the islands we passed to-day, were such as we should have contemplated with greater pleasure, if we could have employed our eyes and thoughts upon any thing beside the perils by which we were environed. They are fertile, verdant, and in many places truly picturesque.
We put to shore this day, as said before, about an hour before sunset. When we disembarked, we found ourselves upon a large and beautiful island, almost covered with trees of various kinds. The view from this island ranges over an immense green plain, bounded only by the horizon, and presents a great river winding in several branches through islands and shores composed of as fine a soil as any in the world, and covered with trees, among which the date tree bore a small proportion. Dongola, we were told, was but a few hours distant from this place.
21st of Safa. At sunrise, quitted the land and proceeded up the river, which we found very wide and shallow. Its middle was occupied by an almost continual range of islands, in my opinion without superior in any river whatever.16 The country bounding the river is a beautiful plain, as far as the eye can reach, as fertile as land can be, and covered with a great variety of trees, plants, and fields of corn. We sailed on with a fair wind till within half an hour of sunset, without coming in sight of Dongola. This, after the information we had received yesterday, somewhat disappointed us, but we consoled ourselves by observing the islands and shores we were passing, comparable to which, in point of luxuriant fertility, Egypt itself cannot show. The whole country is absolutely overwhelmed with the products of the very rich soil of which it consists.
22d of Safa. Quitted the land at an early hour and proceeded up the river, in hourly expectation of coming in view of Dongola, which we had been given to understand was a considerable town. After sailing with a good wind till the middle of the afternoon, without seeing any thing but a very fertile country, resembling that we passed yesterday, the people on shore, on our landing and demanding whereabouts Dongola was, informed us that we were in Dongola, meaning the country so called. On our asking where was the city or town of Dongola, they pointed to a large village in the distance on the west bank of the river, and told us that village was called "New Dongola," and that Old Dongola was farther up the river. They informed us that the Pasha had left a guard of twenty-four soldiers here, and had proceeded with the army three days' march farther up the river, where we should find him. We determined to proceed to his encampment. We saw to-day, for the first time, a small sail boat, constructed by the people of the country; it was very clumsy, resembling a log canoe. The river, in some places which we passed to-day, appeared to be about three miles from bank to bank, but shallow; the islands and shores presenting the same spectacle of luxuriant vegetation that we saw yesterday.
We bought a lamb of three weeks old, this evening, whose mother was as tall as a calf of two months old. This species of sheep is hairy, and has no wool. The kidneys of this lamb were large enough to cover the palm of my hand, though the animal was undoubtedly undiseased.
23d of Safa. Got under way shortly after sunrise, and proceeded up the river with a fine wind, which lasted during the day, and carried us probably thirty miles on our way. The country through which we passed to-day is not so good as that we saw yesterday; the desert comes down to the banks of the river in several places. We saw many villages, but for the last two days have observed none of those castles so frequent in the lower country. About an hour and a half after we quitted the land, passed a fortified town on the west bank of the river, which appeared to be mostly in ruins. On our landing, at night, we endeavored to purchase some provisions, but the people of the country could only spare us some milk and vegetables, for which they would not take money, but demanded flour. On our consenting to this proposition, they brought us an abundance of the articles above mentioned. They informed us that there was a town called Dongola, containing about three hundred houses, at the distance of two days' sail from this place, and that the Pasha was encamped three days' march in advance of Dongola.
24th of Safa. Left the shore this morning shortly after sunrise, and proceeded on our voyage. The country we passed through this day was, on the west bank of the river, fine, but on the east bank the desert was visible at a little distance from the river almost all the day. Passed two considerable fortified towns, situated on the left bank of the river; they were almost in ruins. An hour before sunset we put to shore on the west bank, where we found a fertile and cultivated country. The people who occupied it, said that they had settled here a year ago; the island they had occupied before having been overflowed by the river, and their plantations destroyed.
25th of Safa. This day made but little progress, there having been a calm for more than half the day; what country we saw resembled that passed yesterday.
26th of Safa. Remained fast by the shore for the whole of this day, the wind being ahead. The country on the west bank of the river, where we stopped, is fine, but deserted by the inhabitants. Some of the boat's company, who went up the country in search of provisions, reported that they had seen the ruins of a temple, containing fragments of columns of black granite. I determined, in case the wind on the morrow should continue unfavorable, to visit this place. They also had met a party of fifteen armed men, who informed them that they belonged to this country, but had been compelled to quit it, and fly, by the brigands of Shageia, who had infested and ravaged the country, but had returned on hearing that the Pasha Ismael had defeated and expelled these robbers, and had invited every fugitive peasant to return home, giving them assurance of future safety and protection. We were alarmed this evening by the report of several musket shot, which appeared to come from the other side of the river, where, we had been told, still lurked some of the brigands. Prepared our arms to be ready in case of attack, but passed the night unmolested.
27th of Safa. Early in the morning, quitted the shore with a fair wind, and proceeded on our voyage; Dongola being, we were told, but half a day's distance from us. The appearance of the country still the same.
28th of Safa. Made but little way today, the wind being light. About the middle of the afternoon, put to shore on the east bank of the river, as there appeared to be no villages in sight on the other shore, and we were in want of provisions. The country we saw to-day is very good, and covered with trees, but sparely inhabited.
The country where we landed was, however, tolerably well cultivated by the inhabitants of several villages hereabouts. The soil, where it was not cultivated, was completely covered with trees, generally of no great height, and with bushes and long rank grass. The habitations of many of the inhabitants could with difficulty be found; they are frequently nothing but a rough arbor formed in the thickets. We had continual reason to be surprised, that a country naturally so rich should be so thinly populated and so carelessly cultivated. The people, however, appeared to be content with raising enough for their subsistence, and to desire nothing beyond this. Our money they did not value; they would give us nothing for money, but the flour of Egypt readily obtained what they could spare.
29th of Safa. At sunrise left the land with a fair and strong wind, and proceeded up the river with rapidity. In about two hours passed what appeared to be the ruins of a large fortified city, situated on a commanding eminence on the east bank of the river. Shortly after, put to shore on the west bank of the river, the wind having increased to a gale, and the east side towards the city, just mentioned, being inaccessible on account of the shoals that lined it. The violence of the wind forced the boat aground upon a shallow, at the entrance of a canal here, the only one I had seen for a month. After toiling for an hour, the boatmen at length succeeded in getting the boat water-borne. About an hour after noon the wind abated and the boat proceeded on her way under her foresail only. We went at a great rate till an hour before sunset, when we put to shore on the east bank of the river. The people informed us that we had passed Dongola, and, from their description of that place, we were convinced that the city we had seen this morning, upon the eminence on the east bank of the river, must have been the place we were bound to. The people said that all the boats that preceded us had followed the march of the army of the Pasha, who was encamped, they reported, at two days' distance from this place. We therefore determined to proceed to join him, and not to return to Dongola, where it was probable we should only receive directions to proceed to the Pasha. The country we saw to-day was not so uniformly fertile as that we have passed for several days past. Sand was in some places visible.
1st of Rebi. Made great way to-day, the wind being very strong till sunset. We landed at evening on a large and fertile island which was well cultivated. I observed here, at a considerable distance from the place where we landed, a large and lofty column, situated, as I then supposed, on the main land, on the eastern bank of the river.17 The country we passed to-day, for about ten miles on the eastern bank of the river, is mostly covered by sand; that on the western bank is beautiful. During the whole of the afternoon, however, the country we passed, on both banks, can be surpassed by none in the world for fertility; the appearance of numerous water-wheels and large plantations of durra and cotton, showed us that this fine territory was improved by a considerable population. The face of the country continues still the same, an immense and fertile plain, bounded by the horizon and intersected by the windings of the river Nile. We have seen no considerable eminence for many days, except that on which stands the old city of Dongola, which we passed yesterday; it is a fine military position.
2d of Rebi. The wind to-day was right ahead, owing to the curious fact that the river here makes an eccentric bend to the left, toward the north-east, and presents itself as coming from that quarter instead of from the south or south-west, as usual hitherto.18 The Rais attempted to advance by cordelling the boat; but the force of the wind and current prevented the boatmen from gaining more than two or three miles along the coast of the island, where we landed yesterday. We were therefore obliged to pass a great part of this day and all night by the shore. The island is about twenty miles long and very beautiful; it is called, as I have been repeatedly informed, "Argo."
3d of Rebi. We were obliged still to continue fast by the shore till noon, when the wind abating, the boat advanced about two miles by the help of the cordel, so far as to arrive at a small bend in the river, which brought the wind a little in our favor, so as to pass by its aid to the other side, in the hope, if the wind continued the same on the morrow, to profit by it and proceed. We arrived a little before sun set, and remained there for the night. We saw this day, while the boat was warping slowly along the left bank of the river, the ruins of a considerable fortified town, built of stone and encompassed by large cemeteries. Some large columns, of a beautiful stone, white intermixed red, are to be seen among the ruins. One of the cemeteries is evidently ancient, as the tombs are covered with hieroglyphics, intermixed with inscriptions. In one of the tombs one of our party found the remains of a mummy.
4th of Rebi. Made but little progress to-day, on account of the irregularity in the river already mentioned, which makes its course hereabouts almost the direct contrary to its natural direction, and brings, in consequence, the prevalent winds ahead. Passed some small, but fine islands, and saw, for the first time for several days, stone mountains in the distance: the shores of the river hereabouts are fertile, but thinly inhabited. Saw several large villages in ruins.
5th of Rebi. The wind and the untoward direction of the river obliged us again to employ the cordel to forward the boat a few miles more on her way. By the middle of the afternoon we had arrived at a place on the left 19 bank of the river that had been, a few days ago, the scene of a battle between the Pasha and the brigands of Shageia. We found there a strong and well built castle at the farther extremity of a high and long mountain, running nearly at right angles with the river, and which approached to within a few hundred yards of its bank; thus furnishing a fine position to the enemy. The castle was taken by the aid of the Pasha's artillery, and his cavalry rode through and dispersed all who fought outside of it.20 This castle was astonishingly welt arranged in its interior, and was thereby rendered very comfortable quarters for a considerable garrison. The country, in the vicinity, contains many villages, and was covered with plantations of durra beans and fields of cotton. These villages had been ransacked, and in part destroyed, by the victorious troops, as the inhabitants, instead of coming in to the Pasha, as did the people of the lower countries, had taken up arms and sided with the brigands who lorded it over the country. We learned, however, that they did this much against their will, being compelled thereto by their marauding masters. I was informed today that some English travelers were in one of the boats ahead. I determined, in case the wind should continue unfavorable tomorrow, to walk up the river and pay them a visit.
6th of Rebi. Set out very early in the morning, it being dead calm, and the boat in consequence unable to proceed, except by the cordel, to see the strangers, and to be informed of their accommodations, as I feared that they too were obliged to participate in the privations to which we were all exposed. After about two hours walk at length came up with the boat, on board of which these gentlemen were. They informed me that they had set out from Cairo a few days after we had quitted Bulac. They were suffering privations, as were all in the boats, and I regretted that my being in similar circumstances put it out of my power to ameliorate their situation. As, however, we had now learned to a certainty, that the camp of the Pasha was not far distant, it was in my power to assure them that they would be better off in a day or two.21 All the way to their boat, and on my return to ours, I observed some hundreds of bodies of men and animals that had perished in the late engagement and during the pursuit, and the stench which filled the air was almost intolerable. The country, covered with an abundance of grain almost matured, was abandoned; the water-wheels stood still, and the cisterns were frequently infected by a bloody and putrefying carcass.
7th of Rebi. Passed the last night on board the boat, near the mountain already mentioned in the day before yesterday's journal. Two Greeks on board of our boat reported last evening, that they had heard menacing cries from the mountain. The people on board of the boat supposed that some of the brigands had returned to their haunt and meditated an attack on our boat by night. We were accordingly on the watch till morning, without, however, being molested. This morning, about two hours after sunrise, these same Greeks reported that they had seen fifteen or sixteen of the robbers in a body, and armed. They also told the Mogrebin soldiers in the other boats, which had now come up with ours, that these men had probably massacred one of the soldiers attached to me and two of my servants, as they had not been seen since morning. I accordingly set out, in company with twenty soldiers, in pursuit of the supposed assassins. We had not proceeded far when we met the persons supposed killed, on their way to our boat, safe and sound. They had seen no armed men, though they came from the direction that the Greeks said the robbers had taken. I therefore returned to the boat, reflecting upon the old proverb, "A Greek and a liar." The Mogrebin soldiers were not, however, convinced of the falsehood of the report, and pursued their way to the mountain; they found no robbers there, but repaid themselves for the trouble they had taken, by taking possession of a young and pretty girl, which they carried to their boat as a lawful prize. After proceeding a few miles by the aid of the cordel, we put to land at sunset, near a village on the left bank of the river. We found here the ruins of a Christian church, built in the style of the lower Greek empire, of which one column, of red granite, of no great height, was standing, (it bore on its chapiter a cross and a star,) and was all that stood on its base; others, fallen and broken, were lying near it. The soldiers found in the villages near us several hundred women and about two hundred men; they were peasants who had taken refuge here during the battle between the brigands and the troops of the Pasha. The soldiers were disposed to treat them as enemies, but they were saved from their fury by showing a paper given them by the Pasha, assuring them of protection. It is the rule to give these papers to every village not hostile, to protect them from the soldiers. We remained here all night. The country of Shageia, possessed by the brigands, was the best cultivated we had seen this side of Assuan; the water-wheels, so far as we have passed their country, being frequently within half a stone's throw of each other. They obliged the peasants to work hard to raise food and forage to ml the magazines of their castles, which are seen here and there all over this country.
8th of Rebi. The wind and the direction of the river continuing the same, we were obliged to advance by the cordel. The country continued fine and well cultivated, and we passed several large and beautiful islands. In walking along the shore, saw at a distance a large castle, lately occupied by the brigands; on visiting it, found it capable of accommodating at least a thousand men. The walls and towers very thick and pierced with loopholes: it had been taken by the aid of the Pasha's artillery, and almost every thing combustible in it had been burned by the troops. A few miles beyond this the boat stopped for the night.
9th of Rebi. Heard this morning at day-light, with great pleasure, the report of three cannon, which indicated the proximity of the camp. We proceeded slowly by the cordel, the river obstinate in maintaining the same untoward direction, and the wind consequently adverse. The country we saw to-day, like that we have passed for the last two days, gave us continual occasion of surprise. It was better cultivated than any part of the countries south of Egypt that we had seen. It was crowded with villages and covered with grain, deserted by its proprietors. In the afternoon, however, the disagreeable impression produced by seeing so fine a country without inhabitants was almost obliterated by the pleasure I felt on being informed that a large number of its cultivators, with their wives and children, were on their return to their fields and houses, provided with an escort from the camp, and a firman from the Pasha Ismael, securing them from outrage, and assuring them of protection. I am sorry to be obliged to say, that the inhabitants of this unfortunate district had great occasion for this protection. The soldiers in the boats were disposed to take liberties with the inhabitants, on the plea of their being the allies of the brigands. This morning, two men belonging to a village in this neighborhood, were severely beaten, and their wives or sisters violated by some soldiers belonging to the boats. This afternoon, a soldier belonging to our boat, accompanied by one of the Greeks already mentioned, and the Frank cook of the Proto Medico went to the same village, without my knowledge, to participate in this licentious amusement. They were somewhat surprised and terribly frightened on their arrival at this village, on finding themselves suddenly surrounded by about two hundred peasants armed with clubs, who fiercely demanded what they wanted, asking them if they had come, as others had before them to-day, to cudgel the men and violate the women, and ordered them to be off immediately to the boats. The luckless fornicators, confounded by this unexpected reception, were heartily glad to be allowed to sneak back to the boat in confusion and terror. On their arrival, and this affair becoming known to me, I abused them with all the eloquence I could muster, first, for their villainy, and then for their cowardice, as they were well armed, and had fled before the face of cudgels. When we stopped at night, we were told that we were about three hours distance from the camp.
10th of Rebi. The river and the wind still obliged us to proceed slowly by the cordel. The country we passed to-day was fine, and had been cultivated with great care, but deserted. The face of the fields was almost covered with the household furniture of the villagers. Straw mats, equal to any sold at Cairo, were abandoned by hundreds on the spots where they had been employed for the night by the troops, when on the pursuit after the brigands who had fled from the last battle. Many of the largest of these mats the soldiers had formed into square huts for the different guards. The abandoned harvests waved solitary in the wind, and the numerous water-wheels were all motionless. We passed several large castles, not many days back garrisoned by fierce marauders, who claimed all around them, or within the reach of their horses' feet, as theirs; and many well built villages, whose inhabitants were the slaves of their will. In one of these deserted castles, we found fragments of vessels of porcelain, basins of marble, chests of polished Indian wood, the pillage probably of some caravan, and a small brass cannon. The walls of the apartments were hung with large and colored straw mats, of fine workmanship, and showed many indications of the pains taken to make them comfortable and convenient. An hour after noon, we met great numbers of men, women, and children, accompanied by their herds and flocks, who were returning to this abandoned country, by the encouragement and under the protection of the Pasha. It was an affecting sight to see almost every one of these unfortunate women carrying her naked and forlorn children either upon her shoulders or in her arms, or leading them by the hand. The pleasure I felt at seeing these proofs of the humanity of the Pasha Ismael was diminished by seeing his safe-conduct disregarded by some of the Mogrebin soldiers, and particularly by the Greek and Frank domestics of the Proto Medico Bosari, who seized from the hands of these miserable creatures as many sheep and goats as they thought they had occasion for. About an hour before sunset, we passed the encampment of Abdin Cacheff, on the right or opposite bank of the river; and at night-fall came in view of that of the Pasha about three miles farther up on the same side. We stopped to pass the night, as the boatmen were too much fatigued to draw the boat any farther to-day.
11th of Rebi. The direction of the river and the wind still the same. Proceeded slowly by the cordel till about two hours after noon, when we arrived at the camp of the Hasnardar on the left bank of the river; that of the Pasha was on the opposite side. Not far from the camp of the Hasnardar, some ruins and several small pyramids attracted my attention. As I could not go to the Pasha before to-morrow, I determined to employ the remainder of the day in a visit to these antiquities, which lay near a large high and isolated rock, about a mile distant from the river. I found before this rock the ruins of a very large temple, which covered a great space of ground. Some columns, almost consumed by time, were standing nearly buried in the rubbish. The bases of others were visible, which, from their position, evidently once supported an avenue of pillars leading to an excavation in the great rock aforementioned, against and joining on to the side of which, that fronted towards the river, this temple appeared to have been constructed. Among the ruins saw two large lions of red granite, one broken, and the other little injured, and a small headless statue, about two feet high, in a sitting posture. On approaching the front of the rock, found it excavated into a small temple, whose interior was sculptured with the usual figures and symbols seen in the temples of ancient Egypt. Its roof, and that of the porch before it, exhibited several traces of the azure with which it had been painted. The porch before this excavation was supported by Caryatid figures, representing huge lions standing nearly erect upon their hinder legs. The ruins before the rock seemed to me to have originally composed a large temple, of which this excavation was the inner sanctuary. The pyramids were close by these ruins. I counted seventeen, some of them in ruins, and others perfect. Those which were uninjured were small, of a height greater than the breadth of the base, which was generally about twenty feet square; the sides resembled steep stairs. They were however compactly and very handsomely constructed of hewn stones, similar to the rock before mentioned, and probably taken from it. Before some of these pyramids, and attached to one of their sides, we found low buildings, resembling small temples, and, judging from the interior of one we found open, intended as such, as the inside of this one was covered with the usual hieroglyphics and figures. It would be a work of little difficulty to open the pyramid to which was attached the little temple I entered, as the figure of a door of stone in the pyramid is to be seen, when inside of the temple, attached to its side. In view from this place, many other pyramids were in view higher up the river, on the opposite bank, one of them large. The people of the country called the place I visited, "Meroe" as likewise the whole territory where these ruins are found. The ruins I have mentioned do not appear ever to have been disturbed. I doubt not that several remains worth research lie concealed under the rubbish, which here covers a great space of ground. No other remains of antiquity are visible in this place besides those I have mentioned. The immediate spot where they stand, and its vicinity backward from the river, is covered by the sand of the Desert, underneath which probably many more lie concealed.
The river Nile has been represented, and I think with justice, as one of the wonders of the world. I do not consider it as meriting this appellation so much on account of its periodical and regular floods, in which respect it is resembled by several other rivers, as on account of another circumstance, in which, so far as I know, it is without a parallel.
The Nile resembles the path of a good man in a wicked and worthless world. It runs through a desert—a dry, barren, hideous desert; on the parts of which adjoining its course it has deposited the richest soil in the world, which it continually waters and nourishes. This soil has been the source of subsistence to several powerful nations who have established and overthrown mighty kingdoms, and have originated the arts, the religion, the learning and the civilization of the greater part of the ancient world. These nations, instructors and pupils, have perished; but the remains of their stupendous labors, the pyramids and the temples of Egypt, Nubia, and in the countries now visited for the first time, at least for many ages, by minds capable of appreciating the peoples who erected them, are more than sufficient to excite astonishment and respect for the nations who founded them. The few in stances that I have mentioned are such as have presented themselves to my notice in sailing up the river, without my having the opportunity to scrutinize them particularly, or time or means to pursue any researches in the vicinity of those I have seen, by which doubtless many more would be discovered. Some future traveler in these interesting and remote regions, who may have the power and the means to traverse at his leisure the banks and islands I have seen and admired, will, I believe, find his labors rewarded by discoveries which will interest the learned, and gratify the curious.
A voyage up the Nile may be considered as presenting an epitome of the moral history of man. We meet at almost every stage with the monuments of his superstition, his tyranny, or his luxury; but with few memorials of his ingenuity directed with a view to real utility. We also every where behold the traces of the vengeance of Almighty Justice upon his crimes. Everywhere on the banks of the ancient river we behold cities, once famous for power and luxury, a desolation, and dry like a wilderness; and temples once famous, and colossal idols once feared, now prostrate and confounded with the dust of their worshippers. "The flocks lie down in the midst thereof: the cormorant and bittern lodge in the temples and palaces. Their voice sings in the windows, and desolation is in the thresholds."
The peoples who now occupy the territories of nations extinct or exterminated have profited neither by their history nor their fate. What was once a land occupied by nations superstitious and sensual is now inhabited by robbers and slaves. The robbers have been expelled or slain, and the oppressed peasant is emancipated by the arms of the nation who avenged the cause of Heaven upon the degenerate Greeks, but who nevertheless have derived neither instruction nor warning from their downfall and subjugation. The Nile meantime, which has seen so many nations and generations rise and disappear, still flows and overflows, to distribute its fertilizing waters to the countries on its borders: like the Good Providence, which seems unwearied in trying to overcome the ingratitude of Man by the favors of Heaven.
On my arrival at the camp, I was informed of the particulars of the progress of the victorious son of the distinguished Meheromet Ali from Wady Haifa to Meroe. Before his march every thing had submitted or fallen. All attempts to arrest his progress had proved as unavailing as the obstacles opposed by the savage rocks of the Cataracts of the Nile to the powerful course of that beneficent and fertilizing river.
His Excellence, as said before, set out from Wady Haifa on the 26th of Zilhadge last. In ten days of forced march he arrived at New Dongola. A little beyond this village, the Selictar, at the head of a detachment of about four hundred men, surprised and dispersed about fifteen hundred of the enemy, taking many of their horses and camels. Four days' march beyond New Dongola, the Pasha, at the head of the advance guard of the army, came up with the main body of the Shageias and their allies, strongly posted on the side of a mountain near a village called Courty, on the westerly bank of the river. The Pasha at this juncture had with him but six hundred cavalry and some of the Abbadies mounted on dromedaries, of whom we had about five hundred with the army, but none of his cannon. The enemy advanced to the combat with loud screams and cries, and with great fury. The Abbadies could not withstand their charge, and were driven rearward. At this critical instant, his Excellence gave the order, and the cavalry of the Pasha charged and poured in the fire of their carabines and pistols. After a conflict of no long duration, the cavalry of the enemy fled in dismay, while those who fought on foot fell on their faces, throwing their shields over their heads to secure them from the tramp of the cavalry, and implored mercy.
In consequence of the result of this affair, all the country between the place of combat and Shageia, i.e. the country occupied by the castles and immediate subjects of the Maleks of Shageia, submitted and were pardoned. The Pasha pursued his march to the province of Shageia, where Malek Shouus, the principal among the Shageia chiefs, had collected the whole force of the republic of the brigands with a determination to risk another battle. The Pasha found, on his arrival, a part of their force posted on an island near the long mountain I have mentioned in my journal as having been the scene of a combat a few day? before I reached it. Those of the enemy who were in the island were forthwith attacked by troops sent over in the boats which accompanied the army, and were cut to pieces or driven into the river. The army then advanced to attack the great mass of the enemy in their position on the mountain. It was a very advantageous one. The mountain runs nearly at right angles with the river, which it nearly reaches, leaving between itself and the river a tract of ground about a quarter of a mile in width, which at the time was covered with plantations of durra. The enemy were posted on the side of this mountain and among the durra in the open ground between the mountain and the river; so that their rear was secured by the mountain, and their right covered by a strong castle at the foot of its extremity lying off from the river. Malek Shouus, Malek Zibarra, and the other chiefs of Shageia, and their immediate followers, composed the cavalry of the enemy. They had assembled, either by force or persuasion, all the peasantry subject to their dominion, the whole forming a mass which blackened the whole side of the mountain. Their arms consisted of lances, shields and long broad swords double-edged. These wretched peasants, who were all on foot, their masters posted in front in order to receive and exhaust the fire of the Pasha's troops; while Shouus and the cavalry occupied the rear in order to keep the peasants to their posts, and to have the start of the Pasha's cavalry in case they should find it necessary to take to flight. The Pasha posted his troops parallel to the enemy, placing the greater part of the cavalry opposite the open ground between the mountain and the river, and pushing the artillery a little in advance. The enemy with loud cries and uplifted lances rushed forward. Some of the peasants in advance of the others, with no other arms than lances and shields, threw themselves upon the cannon and were blown to pieces.22 The castle on the right of the enemy was stormed. After feeling the effects of a few rounds from the artillery, which dashed horse and man to pieces, the cavalry of the enemy fled in dismay, leaving their infantry to be rode over and shot down 23 by our cavalry, who destroyed many hundreds of them in the battle and during the pursuit. Malek Shouus and his cavalry did not discontinue their flight till they reached the territory of Shendi, leaving their numerous and strong castles, their dependant villages, and a rich and beautiful country, in the hands of the conqueror.24
On the 12th of Rebi, I passed over to the camp of the Pasha. I did not however obtain an audience of his Excellence till two days after, when, being alone, he sent for me, and received me in the most nattering manner, ordering me as usual to sit in his presence. After the usual compliments, I informed his Excellence that I had been much mortified and distressed, that the act of God, in depriving me of the use of my eyes a few days before his Excellence left Wady Halfa, had prevented me from accompanying his victorious march, and participating in the exploits of his troops; so that I had not arrived till there was nothing left to do. His Excellence replied that a "great deal more remained to be done, in which I should have a share." I replied with a compliment, and then demanded horses and camels for myself, and the soldiers I had brought with me; he replied "that I should have them." After some further conversation, of a confidential nature, I retired. During the nine days following, I had reason to applaud the humanity and good policy of the Pasha, in offering amnesty and peace to all the brigands who should come in and surrender themselves. Several of their chiefs, whom they call "Maleks" accompanied by their followers, came in while the camp remained near Meroe. The chiefs were presented with costly habiliments, and the written protection of his Excellence, recognizing them as under his safeguard; and returned with their followers to their homes, tranquillized and contented. The most rigid discipline was observed in the camp, to prevent the people of the country from suffering by the presence of the army. Some soldiers and domestics were severely beaten for taking sheep and goats without paying for them, and five of the Abbadies (or auxiliaries mounted on dromedaries) were impaled for having seized some camels from the peasants. It was truly honorable to the army and its commander to see villages embosomed in a camp, whose inhabitants, men, women and children, pursued their usual occupations, without molestation and without fear. In the country below, which had been the scene of combat, the fields were deserted, and for several days I had not seen a peasant at work upon the ground. In the vicinity of the camp of the Pasha, where the people had submitted themselves, the discordant creak of the water-wheels frequently attracted the ear, and the peasants cultivated their fields within musket shot of the camp of a conqueror.
On the 21st of Rebi, a detachment, consisting of three hundred cavalry, departed from the camp for the country of the Berbers, to secure its submission and to obtain horses and camels for the army. Learning that it was the intention of the Pasha to march in a few days, to pitch his camp about eight hours march farther up the river, I wished to ascertain whether I could have the horses and camels I needed before the Pasha marched. His reply to my demand was, that he had no camels, at present, that were not appropriated to some service or other, but that, as soon as he had them, I should receive what I needed. I was consequently obliged to embark in a boat to accompany the march of the camp as, without camels to carry my tent and baggage, I could not accompany it by land. On the 25th, all the boats followed the departure of the troops; the wind was ahead, and the direction of the river the same as repeatedly before mentioned. We proceeded slowly by the cordel. This circumstance gave me an opportunity of visiting the Pyramids which I have mentioned as in view from Meroe. They stand about half a mile from the right hand bank of the river. I counted twenty-seven, none of them perfect, and most of them in ruins; the greater part of them are built of stone, and are evidently much more ancient than those of Meroe.
The largest is probably more than a hundred feet square, and something more in height. It presents a singularity in its construction worthy of notice. It is a pyramid within a pyramid; i.e. the inner pyramid has been cased over by a larger one; one of its sides being in ruins makes this peculiarity visible. By climbing up the ruined side, it is easy to reach its summit. No remains of a city or any traces of temples are visible in the immediate vicinity of this place, which is called by the natives "Turboot."
On the 23d we came in view of the lower end of the rapids of the Third Cataract; those hereabouts are called "the rapids of Oula" We were obliged to consume thirty-nine days in getting as far as the island of Kendi, (which is not above fifty miles from Meroe.) As the direction of the river continued almost the same, coming from about the north-east, and the wind being almost invariably ahead, the difficulties attending advancing the boats by the cordel were very great, as the river here is spotted by an infinity of islands and rocks. In some of the passages where the water was deep, the current was as swift as a mill-sluice, which made it necessary to employ the crews of perhaps twenty boats to drag up one at a time. In other passages, where the water was very shallow, it was sometimes necessary to drag the boats by main force over the stones at the bottom. The camp of the Pasha remained during all this time about eight hours march above Meroe, on the right bank of the river, waiting till the boats should have passed the rapids. No military movements took place, except detaching the Divan Effendi with four hundred cavalry, to join the detachment already in Berber, where all was quiet and friendly. The country on the rapids of the Third Cataract is sterile, being composed, for the most part, of black granite and sand, excepting some of the islands, which contained good ground, and a few spots on the shores, where the floods of the river had deposited some fertile soil. The rocks by the shore presented indications which proved that the river had risen in some of its floods about twenty feet above its present level. Ostriches are not unfrequently seen hereabouts. We have met with no ruins of any ancient building of consequence on these rapids, except the ruins of a strong fort on the right bank of the river, and those of what was probably a Christian Monastery on the bank right opposite. This place, I was told, is called "Kennis;" it is about thirty miles above Meroe.25 We passed one small island, which the natives said was called also Meroe, as well as the site where we found the pyramids and temple below. No indications of a considerable city are however to be found on this island, which is beside too small to have served for the emplacement of a city of consequence. Khalil Aga, who swam over to this island, reported that he had seen there the ruins of brick houses, and many fragments of porcelain; of the latter there are immense quantities among all the ruined edifices found in this country.26 The island of "Kendi" is large, and in some parts cultivated; it contains evident traces of brick buildings, among which we found fragments of ancient pottery and porcelain, but no ruins of any considerable building.
We stayed for three days as high up as the middle of the island of Kendi. On the 6th of Jamisalawal the boats received orders to descend to the lower end of the island, in order to take the passage on its right hand side, that on the left being so shallow as not to be passed but with great difficulty. We descended accordingly, and remained at its lower extremity till the thirteenth of the moon, which delay was occasioned by the absence of the Rais Bashi, who had gone up to examine and sound the passages through the remainder of the Third Cataract. On the thirteenth, our boat and many others passed over to the right bank of the river, in order to be on the same side as was the camp of the Pasha,27 and to have free communication with it.
The same day I received an order from the Pasha to come to the camp with my baggage. I went accordingly and presented myself to his Excellency, and demanded to know his pleasure. He replied, that it was his will that I should stay in the camp, and that he would immediately furnish me with the means of accompanying him in his intended march to Berber over the Desert. Five days after, his Excellency broke up his camp, and proceeded about four leagues higher up the rapids, where the boats were found stopped by the impossibility of proceeding any farther, as the water was found to be too low to admit their passing. I arrived at this place (opposite the upper end of the island of Kendi) on the same day with his Excellency, having left orders to my domestics to follow with my camels and baggage. The next morning, finding that they had not arrived, and learning that it was the intention of the Pasha to commence his march to Berber that day, I mounted my horse to go and ascertain the reason why my camels had not arrived. I learned, as I proceeded, that one of them had fallen under his load, and that it would be necessary to send back the first that should arrive and be unloaded, to take the burden of the other. All my effects, inconsequence, did not arrive before evening. During my absence to see after this vexatious affair, the Pasha had departed with the camp, as I learned the same evening on my return. After leaving the most bulky part of my baggage in one of the boats, I proceeded on the 21st to the place where the Pasha's last camp had been, to join some party who should have been delayed by circumstances similar to my misadventure. On my arrival I found the Hasna Katib, and about three hundred soldiers, waiting till camels should come from Berber to carry them to join the Pasha. There were, besides, seven hundred Mogrebin infantry in the boats, awaiting the means of transporting their tents and baggage across the Desert. On my representing to the Hasna Katib the circumstance that had delayed me, he informed me that the Selictar was expected from below in a few days, who, on the day after his arrival, would proceed after the Pasha, and that I had better accompany him. I accepted the advice, and pitched my tent to await the arrival of the Selictar. The same day I was informed that all the large boats had received orders to abandon the attempt to pass the remainder of the third cataract of the Nile. They had already, with great difficulty, got through about fifty difficult passages, and it was reported that there were nearly one hundred more ahead before the third cataract could be got clear of. When the river is full, and the flood, of course, strong, this cataract must, in my opinion, be almost impassable upwards, as, on account of the strange direction of the river, little or no aid can be derived from the wind, and the current in some places, from the straitness of the passages between the rocks and islands, must, in the time of the inundation, be very furious, while the cordel, from the natural obstacles which cover the shore of this cataract, could hardly overcome the difficulties which every mile or two would present.28
On the first day of the moon Jamisalachar, the Selictar arrived from below, where he had been to collect durra for the army. Two days after I set forward in company with him to pass the Desert. The road for two days lay near the bank of the river. By the middle of the afternoon of the first day we arrived at a pleasant spot on the border of the Nile, where we encamped to pass the night. On the morning following we mounted our horses at sunrise, and by mid-day arrived at a fine pond of water at the foot of a high rock, at no great distance from the river, where we refreshed ourselves and filled the water-skins, as at this place the roads turns into the Desert. We marched from the middle of the afternoon till an hour after midnight, when we halted to sleep. The road for this day was evidently the dry bed of an arm of the Nile, which, during the inundation, is full of water. Even at this season the doum tree and the acacia, which grew on its borders, were green, and coarse long grass was abundant. At sunrise of the sixth day of the moon we again mounted, and set forward in a direction nearly East. Our way lay over low rocky hills, gravelly or sandy plains, and sometimes through valleys containing plenty of coarse grass and acacia trees; but no water is to be found above ground at this season, though it probably might be obtained by sinking wells in some of these valleys. We halted at noon, and in two hours after again mounted, and marched till midnight. Our road lay through a country resembling that we had passed the day before. On the morrow morning, a little after day-light, we proceeded on our journey, and at noon halted at the only well of water we found on our route. It lies near two high hills of black granite. The water was yellow and dirty, and was almost rejected by the thirsty camels. By the middle of the afternoon we were again on horseback, and marched till midnight, when some of the camels dropping and dying, and others giving out, the Selictar found himself obliged to order a halt for the rest of the night. It was his intention to have marched till morning, by which time our guides told us that we should arrive at the river. We threw ourselves on the ground to sleep a few hours, but by sunrise we were called to mount and away. We proceeded till about noon, when we came in view of the beneficent river, whose beauty and value cannot be duly appreciated by any who have not voyaged in the deserts through which it holds its course. It was on the eighth of the moon when we arrived on its borders. I had expected that our toilsome forced march would end here, and had promised myself some repose, which I greatly needed, as I had suffered much from the heat of the sun, which had burned the skin off my face;—from fatigue and want of sleep;—from hunger, as we had barely time to prepare a little rice and bread once in twenty-four hours;—and from the exasperation of my ophthalmia, which had never entirely quitted me since I was attacked by it at Wady Halfa, on the second cataract. The Selictar, however, did not indulge us with more than half a day's and one night's repose on the bank of the river, which we found well cultivated by the inhabitants of numerous villages in sight. On the morning of the ninth day of the moon, we were again called to proceed. For this day our march lay near the bank of the river, and through and by fine fields of barley, cotton, and wheat. The day after, our route lay over a narrow space of rocky land, lying between the river and the hills of the desert. We saw this day but a few cultivated spots. On the 11th we commenced our march before sunrise, animated by the information that we should be at the Pasha's camp by noon or the middle of the afternoon. Our road lay this day on the edge of the Desert, just where it touches the cultivable soil deposited by the Nile, which is indicative of the point to which the inundations of the river extend in this country. On both sides of tills road was an almost continued succession of villages, which are built here in order to be out of the reach of the overflowing of the river, which almost every year here overspreads the country for one or two miles from its banks. The land liable to this inundation is in part cultivated as well as any portion of Egypt, and in part devoted to feeding great numbers of fine horses, camels, dromedaries, kine, sheep, and goats, with which the country of the Berbers is abundantly stocked.
We marched on till nearly set of sun, without halting, when we arrived at the encampment of the Pasha; it was on our side [i.e. the west side] of the Nile, which here runs in its natural direction from south to north. At five or six days march below it, it turns to the left, and describes, from above its turning point and Dongola, a track something resembling the following figure—which is the reason why, in coming up the river from Dongola, we found it running from the north-east. The length of this curious bend in the river Nile, never known to the civilized world before the expedition of Ismael Pasha, may be about two hundred and fifty miles long, the greater part of it all rocks and rapids.
The journey from our last encampment on the third cataract to the country of the Berbers, following the direction of the river, takes eight days of forced marches, but that by the desert, i.e. across the peninsula formed by the course of the river between the country of the Berbers and our last encampment, takes four days forced march.
The road from the place where we arrived at the river (in coming from the desert) up the country of Berber, lies generally on the edge of the desert, and outside of the fertile land lying between the river and the desert; of consequence we were rarely led to its banks so as to ascertain its course and appearance. But from several points where the road approaches the river, I observed that it winded continually and contained many beautiful islands, some of them, particularly that named "Sibne," cultivated like gardens. I also observed that the river, at the lower extremity of the country of the Berbers, is much interrupted by rocks, and I have learned, since my arrival, that between the third cataract and the camp, the water is so low at this season that the Canja of the Pasha (probably the first boat that ever passed the third cataract of the Nile) was obliged to be lifted three times over shallow passages.
The natives of this country had never seen a sail boat before the arrival of this Canja. They called it "a water mare" comparing it, by this appellation, to the swiftest animal with which they are acquainted. They ran in, crowds to the river's edge to see it mount the current without the aid of oars.
On the 13th, I had a private audience of the Pasha in the evening. His Excellence received me as usual, and on my informing him of the circumstance which had prevented my accompanying his march from the cataract, he assured me that he would give orders, that, for the future, I should be furnished from the best of his own camels. I preferred to his Excellence some requests, which he granted immediately, and on my retiring, requested me to present myself to him frequently.
Previous to his march from the third cataract, there had arrived at the camp ambassadors from Shendi, from Malek Shouus, the chief of the fugitive Shageians, demanding terms of peace. The Pasha replied, that "the only terms on which they could obtain peace with him, would be by the surrender of their horses and arms, and returning to their country to live tranquilly, and without disturbing their neighbors." The ambassadors replied, that "they would not give up their horses and arms." The Pasha then answered, that "then he would come to Shendi and take them." To which it is said they answered, "Come."29 On hearing, however, of the rapid march of the Pasha, and of his arrival in Berber, the chief of Shendi, on whose support it seems Shouus had calculated, was frightened, and sent his son, bearing some valuable presents, to the Pasha, to notify his submission, and to receive his orders. The terror and confusion this step, on the part of one of the most powerful allies of Sennaar, will occasion to the latter, will probably prevent the necessity of a battle to ensure its submission. A part of the remnant of the once powerful Mamalukes of Egypt, who had fled before the Pasha to Shendi,30 on his arrival in Berber have surrendered themselves to the protection of the Pasha Ismael. They have been treated by him with great kindness, and were presented with a thousand piasters each, to bear their expenses to Cairo, to which place they have departed, with the assurance of passing the remainder of their lives in tranquility in Egypt, under the protection and favor of Mehemmed Ali. They had gone from the camp before my arrival. I was informed that these Mamalukes were in possession of many slaves and fine horses, which will turn to good account in Egypt. A small remnant of the Mamalukes at Shendi, under the direction of a refractory Bey, have fled to the countries on the Bahar el Abiud, where they will probably perish miserably. The Divan Effendi, who has been sent to Shendi to arrange the terms of peace with the Malek of that country, had orders to assure this Bey and his followers there, of the same favor and protection already accorded to their comrades, who had already departed for Egypt, but without success. It is not to be doubted, however, that the remnant of the once powerful Mamalukes, who have surrendered themselves to the compassion and protection of the Viceroy, will receive both from him; whose humanity has been interested in their behalf since their power is gone, and their number reduced to a few individuals, who, doubtless, will be happy to live tranquilly in the country these unfortunate fugitives continually sigh after, and whose sovereignty they have lost by their own misconduct.31
17th. I passed over in the canja of the Pasha, to the east side of the river, to visit the capital of Berber, which is nearly opposite to our camp. On reaching the bank, it is a walk of half an hour through immense fields of durra, to come to the road that leads to the residence of the chief.
After quitting the plantations, I came to a collection of villages, extending about three miles down the river. Among these villages is one called "Goos" which is marked in the maps as the capital of Berber; but the residence of the Malek,32 or chief of the eastern shore, is not at Goos, but at another of the collection, much larger, called Nousreddin, as I was informed, after the name of the present Malek, who resides there. The houses of these villages, like the rest in the country of Berber, are built of clay, and roofed with unhewn timber, covered with trusses of straw; that of the Malek is like those of his people, only larger. The western shore is governed by another Malek, whose village lies higher up the river than the emplacement of our camp. The population of Nousreddin, and the villages adjoining, is considerable. The country is fertile and well cultivated, and abounds in durra, cotton, barley, fine horses, camels, dromedaries, kine, sheep, goats and fowls, as does all the country of Berber. I found in these villages some caravan merchants, who at present had nothing to sell but coarse cotton cloths. These cotton cloths form the only clothing of the inhabitants; both men and women wear them, wrapped round their middle, with one end thrown over the shoulder or head.33 The Berber, though resembling the fellah of Upper Egypt in complexion, is generally not so well formed in figure and feature. Many of them have defective teeth, probably occasioned by the habit of chewing bad tobacco, (of which they have plenty,) which is common here.
The greater part of their household and field work is done by slaves they purchase from the caravans, coming either from Abyssinia or Darfour. Some of the owners of female slaves would, for a dollar, without scruple, permit the soldiers of our camp to sleep with them. The women of Berber, contrary to the custom in Egypt, go with the face unveiled, without embarrassment. Both men and women never consider themselves in full dress, unless the hair of the head has been combed sleek, then braided and platted together, and afterwards plentifully anointed with butter. They never cut the hair, I believe; it consequently forms an immense bunch behind the head, similar to that observable in some of the ancient statues of Egypt.34 The barbarous practice of excision is universally performed upon all their females, whether free or slaves; as is the case also among all the tribes inhabiting the banks of the Nile above Assuan.
The people of Berber are, in their exterior deportment, mild and polite. Every man we meet, uniformly gives us the greeting of peace, "Salaam aleikoum," and uniformly shows a disposition to accommodate us in every thing reasonable. This is probably owing to their being, in a very considerable degree, a commercial people; Berber being every year visited and traversed by numerous caravans from Abyssinia, Sennaar, Darfour, and Kordofan.
23d of Jamisalachar. This day arrived the Divan Effendi, from Shendi, accompanied by the Malek of that province, and the son of Malek Shouus, the chief of the fugitive Shageias. The Malek of Shendi was accompanied by a considerable suite, and two most beautiful horses, intended as a present to the Pasha.35 On being introduced to his Excellence, he kissed his hand, and pressed it to his forehead, and told him that he had come to surrender himself and his country to his favor and protection. His Excellence received him graciously, presented him with splendid habiliments, and a horse richly caparisoned. After his presentation was finished, he was conducted to the tent of the Hasnardar, who was directed by the Pasha to treat him with due hospitality. The son of Malek Shouus came in behalf of his father, and other distinguished chiefs of the Shageias, to implore the mercy of the Pasha for these chiefs and the fugitive remnant of their followers, who were opposite Shendi, awaiting the decision of the Pasha, as to what was to be their fate. I was told that the determination of the Pasha continued in their regard the same, making the surrender of their arms and horses the sine qua non of peace between him and them. Three days after, the chief of Shendi returned home the friend of the Pasha.
On the 25th of the moon, I passed over to the eastern side of the river, to purchase camels; as there were many buyers at this time from our camp, I did not find any good enough for the exorbitant price demanded. I passed the greater part of the day, and the night following, at the town of Nousreddin, in the house of one of the principal chiefs of the Berbers. He bears the title of Malek, as do all the distinguished chiefs of Berber, Shageia, and Dongola. Their dignity is hereditary, generally passing from father to son. I have noticed that the families of the Maleks exceed the common people in respect of stature and stoutness. The Malek, in whose house I lodged, a man about 60 years of age, was near seven feet high, and very stout. His eldest son, a young man about 22 years of age, was about 6 feet 4 inches in stature, stout and well proportioned. I imagine, that this superiority in size is owing to the circumstance that they eat well and heartily, and have no work to do beside seeing that others work for them. The family of this Malek carried their hospitality towards me to a very extraordinary length for people professing Islam. I was offered, by the mother and mistress of the house, my choice of two of her daughters for a bedfellow. They were both young, and the handsomest women I have seen in Berber, but married to husbands whose houses were at the other end of the town. When I understood this circumstance, I told the mother, that a genuine Mussulman ought to regard lying with his neighbor's wife as a crime almost as bad as murdering him in his bed.36 I am sorry to be obliged to say, that though the Berbers are a quiet and industrious people, very civil and disposed to oblige all for whom they have any regard, yet, with respect to their women, they appear to be unconscious that their conduct is quite irreconcilable with the precepts of the Koran, and the customs of their co-religionists. They suffer them to go about with the face exposed—to converse with the other sex in the roads, the streets, and the fields; and if the women are accustomed to grant their favors to their countrymen, as liberally and as frequently as they did to our soldiers, I should imagine that it must be more than commonly difficult, in this country, for a man to know his own father.37
On my return to camp, I was amused on the way by a dispute in connection with this subject, between the Malek I have mentioned and a soldier; it happened in the boat that brought me back to camp. The boat was heavily laden, and this gigantic Malek was stepping into it, when the soldier I have mentioned intimated a determination to exclude him, calling him by several opprobrious names, and among other terms, "a pimp." Upon this, I checked the soldier, telling him that this man was a considerable personage in his country, and extremely hospitable to the Osmanlis. This mollified the soldier, and the Malek took a place as well as he could. The Malek then addressed the soldier in a mild manner, and asked him why he had bestowed such appellations upon one who was a Mussulman, as well as himself. The soldier positively refused to allow the Malek's claims to this honorable appellation. The chief demanded upon what grounds the soldier denied it: "Because," said the soldier, "the women of your country are all whores, and the men all get drunk with bouza, araky, and other forbidden liquors, which you make out of durra and dates;" and turning to me, he demanded "whether he was not right?" The poor chief appeared to be much vexed that he was unable to reply to this accusation, and remained silent. The soldier, not content with humbling the unlucky Malek, pursued his advantage without mercy. "Come," said he to the chief, "I do not believe that you know any thing about your religion, and I will soon make you sensible of it" He then asked the chief how many prophets had preceded Mohammed? If he knew any thing about the history of Dhulkamein and Gog and Magog? and many others of a similar tenor: how to answer which the unfortunate Malek was obliged to own his ignorance. The soldier then told him that "the Commander of the Faithful,"38 the chief of the Mussulmans, had authorized his Vizier, the Pasha Mehemmed Ali, to set the people on the upper parts of the Nile to rights, and that now the Osmanlis were come among them they would probably learn how to behave themselves. The Malek might, however, have had his revenge upon the edifying soldier, had he known as well as I did that he had gone over to the town of Nousreddin expressly to amuse himself with the women of the country, and had doubtless paid as much attention to the bouza as the most sturdy toper in Berber.
The country of the Berbers, after the best in formation I have been able to obtain, is small, not extending, from the upper end of the third cataract, more than eight days march in length on both sides of the Nile. The Bahar el Uswood, or Black river, bounds it (i.e. on the eastern bank) on the south, and separates it from the territory of Shendi. The cultivable land reaches generally to the distance of one or two miles from the river. It is overflowed generally at the inundation, and its produce is very abundant, consisting in durra, wheat, barley, beans, cotton, a small grain called "duchan," tobacco, and some garden vegetables similar to those of Egypt. Berber also raises great numbers of horned cattle, sheep, goats, camels, asses, and very fine horses. It is very populous, the succession of villages being almost continued along the road on both sides of the river. The houses are built of clay, covered with a flat roof of beams overlaid generally with straw; but the houses of the Maleks have generally terraced roofs of beaten clay, This manner of building is sufficient in a country where no great quantity of rain falls throughout the year. Some of the houses of the peasants are formed of trusses of cornstalks, and placed side by side in a perpendicular position, and lashed together, with roofs of the same materials. All the people sleep upon bedsteads, as they do also in Dongola and Shageia: these bedsteads are composed of an oblong frame of wood, standing on four short legs, the sides of the frame supporting a close network of leathern thongs, on which the person sleeps; it is elastic and comfortable.
Berber contains plenty of salt, which the natives find in some calcareous mountains between the desert and the fertile land. In its natural state, it is found mingled with a brown earth, with which the stone of those mountains is intermixed. This earth the natives dilute with water, which absorbs the salt and leaves the earth at the bottom; they then pour off the water into another vessel, and, by exposing it to the sun or fire, the water is evaporated and the salt remains.
The assemblage of villages which compose the capital of Nousreddin, contains houses enough for a population of five or six thousand souls, but I do not believe that the actual population of those villages is so great.
The language is Arabic, perfectly intelligible to the natives of Egypt, but containing some ancient words at present disused on the lower Nile; for instance, the Berber calls a sheep "Kebesh."[39'
As to the climate, the difference between the heat at two hours afternoon in the month of the vernal equinox, and at an hour before sunrise, has been as great as ten degrees of the thermometer of Reaumur, as I have been informed by one of the medical staff attached to the army, who was in possession of that instrument. It is at present the commencement of spring, and the heat at two hours after mid-day, at least to the sense, is as great as in the month of the summer solstice, in Cairo. I have seen no ferocious animals, either in Berber or the country below, and believe that they are rare.
5th of Regeb. The camp continues in Berber, awaiting the arrival of the remainder of the cannon, ammunition, provisions and troops, from the boats at the cataract. The reason why these have not been transported hither before this time, is the want of camels, a large part of the camels attached to the army having perished, by reason of having been over fatigued by the Pasha's forced march over the desert, and up the country of Berber. A considerable number of camels have been obtained from Berber and sent to the cataract, and more are expected to arrive from Shendi, to which place the Divan Effendi has accompanied the chief of that country when he left our camp, in order to receive them. Abdin Cacheff departed two days past for Dongola, with his division. He is charged, by Mehemmed Ali, with the government of the country between the second and third cataracts.40 Twelve hundred men, under the command of Ibrihim Cacheff, are said to be on the way to replace the vacancy left in our camp by the departure of Abdin Cacheff. They are expected to arrive in a few days, if not delayed by the sickness of Ibrihim Cacheff, who, it is said in the camp, is dangerously ill on the road.
7th of Regeb. This day Nousreddin, the Malek of Berber, came to kiss the hand of the Pasha. He had been prevented from paying his homage to the conqueror heretofore by sickness. He brought with him, as a present to the Pasha, fifty fine horses, and fifty dromedaries of prime breed. He was well received by his Excellence, and his presents were returned by the Pasha, by others of great value. Nousreddin is a very tall and very large man, about sixty years of age. Two days after, having occasion to go to the other side of the river, I found Nousreddin upon the shore, awaiting the arrival of a boat to carry him and some of his chiefs over. I paid him some compliments relative to the handsome horses he had presented to the Pasha, which pleased him considerably; he invited me to come to his house and partake of his hospitality. I told him, if circumstances would admit it, I would visit him in a few days.
From the 10th of Regeb to the end of the moon, nothing worth notice took place, except the successive and gradual arrival of the remainder of the cannon,41 ammunition, stores and troops from the cataract, which had been left there when the Pasha quitted it, for want of camels to transport them. On the last day of the month, arrived the cavalry of Ibrihim Cacheff from Egypt, consisting of four hundred excellent horsemen; one thousand infantry were yet far distant, but on their way to join us. Ibrihim Cacheff is at Wady Halfa, severely sick.
On the 2d of the moon Shaban, shortly after the hour of afternoon prayer, the signal was fired and the tents fell. We mounted our snorting horses, now lusty from long repose, and commenced our march to traverse the famous country of the Ethiopian shepherds, at present subject to the Malek of Shendi. We arrived opposite Shendi, by easy marches, in eight days, and encamped on the west side of the river, near a very large village called "Shendi el Garb," i.e. Shendi on the west bank.
Our route from Berber led us through a country consisting of immense plains of fertile soil, extending many miles from the river, and mostly covered with herbage; mountains or hills were rarely visible.42
We passed many large villages, most of which stood far off from the river, to be out of the reach of the inundation. The houses of these villages, particularly as we approached Shendi, were generally built with sloping roofs of thatched straw, which indicated that this is a country visited by the rains. We hardly ever, during our march, came in view of the river, except to encamp. We found it at this season narrow and shallow, though its bed was frequently a mile and a half broad. At every halt we made, the chiefs of the country came to salute the Pasha, and seemed to be well disposed towards the army, whose conduct was very exemplary.
On the 9th of the moon, I visited the town of Shendi el Garb, in the rear of our camp. It is large and well built, in comparison with the other villages I have seen on the Upper Nile. It contains about six thousand inhabitants, and has three market places, where the people of the country exchange dollars and durra for what they have need of. Our piasters they disliked, being ignorant of their value, but sometimes received them for fowls, vegetables, butter, and meat, and for durra, but for wheat they demanded dollars.
On the 10th of the moon, I went to Shendi on the east bank, which is the capital of the country. I traversed the town with some surprise; the houses are low, but well built of clay. Large areas, walled in for the reception of the merchandize brought by the caravans, are to be seen in various parts of the town, which is large, containing probably five or six thousand inhabitants; the streets are wide and airy, regular market places are found there, where, beside meat, butter,43 grain and vegetables are also to be purchased, spices brought from Jidda, gum arabic, beads, and other ornaments for the women. The people of Shendi have a bad character, being both ferocious and fraudulent. Great numbers of slaves of both sexes, from Abyssinia and Darfour, are to be found here, at a moderate price, a handsome Abyssinian girl selling for about forty or fifty dollars. The chief of Shendi, the same who had come to our camp in Berber, has done his uttermost to promote a good disposition in his people towards the Osmanlis, and has made the Pasha a present of several hundreds of very fine camels, within the last two days. His house is not built of better materials than those of his people, and differs from them only in being larger. Shendi stands about half a mile from the easterly bank of the river. Its immediate environs are sandy; it derives its importance solely from being the rendezvous of the caravans of Sennaar and the neighboring countries going to Mecca or Egypt. The territory belonging to the chief of Shendi is said to be very large,44 but by no means peopled in proportion to its extent. He can, however, in conjunction with the Malek of Halfya, bring into the field thirty thousand horsemen, mounted on steeds probably as beautiful as any found in any country in the world.
On the 14th of the moon, some soldiers, who went to a village in the neighborhood of the camp, to get their rations of durra from the magazine in this village, which had been formed there by its chief, for the service of the army, were insulted, maltreated, and two of them killed outright with lances, and others severely wounded by the inhabitants. On the news of this outrage reaching the camp, the soldiers took arms, and mounted, to proceed to this village, with the full determination to revenge the death of their comrades in the severest manner. In five minutes nearly all the camp was upon the march for this village, when the Pasha sent orders to stop them and leave the affair to him. It was however impossible to prevent the greater part of them from proceeding to the village, which they pillaged and destroyed, sacrificing to their fury many of its inhabitants. The plunder which they brought back was however seized by the Selictar, and by the Pasha's orders restored to its owners.
The conduct of his Excellence on this occasion was highly laudable, while it must be confessed that that of the soldiers was not much to be blamed. Durra—a miserable pittance of durra, scarcely sufficient to support nature, was all that was required from the people of these countries, money free; and this, in the instance mentioned, was refused by a people whose chief had already granted it—a people absolutely within our power, and who extorted from the starving soldiery enormous prices for every thing they sold us, and who frequently refused to sell us any thing at all with great ferocity and insolence.
On the 15th of the moon, at two hours before sunset, the signal was fired, and the camp of the Pasha rose to commence its march for Sennaar. We marched till midnight, and reposed, as usual, on the bank of the river till about the same hour of the afternoon of the 16th of the moon, when we pursued our march for five hours, and halted by the river. We stayed here till the 18th, in the afternoon, in order to obtain three days rations for the horses from the villages in the neighborhood, which are numerous and large, as the country through which our route would lie for that time, is destitute of inhabitants and cultivation.
It was on the 16th that Malek Shouus, the chief of the fugitive Shageias, who had fled as the army approached up the country, came at length to the camp to surrender himself to the discretion of the Pasha. He addressed the Pasha, as I have been informed, as follows: "I have fought against you to the utmost of my means and power, and am now ready, if you will, to fight under the orders of my conqueror." The courage this man had shown in battle, and his firmness in adversity, had engaged the respect of the Osmanlis, and he is as graciously received by the Pasha, who created him a Bimbashi, and received him, his companions, and followers, into his service. Malek Shouus is a large stout man, of a pleasing physiognomy though black, of about forty years of age, and was considered as the greatest warrior among the people of the Upper Nile, who all stood in awe of him.45
The 19th, 20th, and 21st of the moon, were employed in traversing the naked country before-mentioned, which is barren, rocky, and without cultivation. We marched for three days, from the middle of the afternoon till midnight. It was not till the second hour after midnight, however, of the third day, that we arrived at a country on the border of the Nile, containing several villages, where we remained till the middle of the afternoon of the 21st. On our arrival at these villages, the darkness and severe hunger engaged several of the soldiers to take, by force, sheep and goats from the inhabitants. The officers of the Pasha vigorously interposed to prevent this infraction of the orders of his Excellence, and several of the guilty were severely punished for taking forbidden means to gratify the demands of nature.
At the hour of afternoon prayer the signal was fired, and the camp proceeded onwards. We left the villages afore-mentioned, and passed through a sandy tract covered with bushes and the thorny acacia, which embarrassed our march, and, by occasioning several detours, caused the army to lose its way. After wandering about till midnight, the camp at length arrived on the bank of the Nile.
On the 22d, at the rising of the moon, the camp proceeded, and halted in the forenoon on the beach of the river, opposite Halfya, a very large village on the easterly bank. We stayed here till the twenty-sixth to obtain durra from this territory, whose chief brought, as a present to the Pasha, some fine horses and many camels, and received, in return, some valuable presents. Our side of the river is desert, and covered with trees and bushes. During our stay opposite Halfya, the Nile, on the night of the 23d, rose suddenly about two feet, and inundated some parts of the sandy flats where we were encamped; the water entering the tents of several, my own among others, and wetting my bed, arms, and baggage.46 It had risen a little shortly after the equinox, while the army was in Berber, and afterwards subsided more than it had risen. We find the sky every day more and more overcast; distant thunder and lightning, accompanied with violent squalls, (which have overset my tent twice,) are, within a few days, frequent, and drops of rain have fallen in our camp.
On the 26th, at one hour after noon, we proceeded to the Bahar el Abiud, about five hours march above our present position, where the Pasha intends to cross into the territory of Sennaar. The camp arrived at sunset at a position a little above where the Nile falls into the Bahar el Abiud, and stopped. Immediately on my arrival, I drank of this river, being, probably, the first man of Frank origin that ever tasted its waters.
The Nile is not half as broad as the Bahar el Abiud, which is, from bank to bank, one mile higher than where the Nile joins it, about a mile and a quarter in breadth. It comes, as far as we can see it, from the west-south-west. The Nile of Bruce must, therefore, after the expedition of Ismael Pasha, be considered as a branch of a great and unexplored river, which may possibly be found to be connected with the Niger.
On the 27th, early in the morning, the Pasha commenced transporting the army over the Bahar el Abiud, by means of nine small boats, which had been able to pass the third Cataract, and follow the army. The country on our side of the Bahar el Abiud, is uncultivated, and apparently without inhabitants. The army is encamped by the side of the river, on a beautiful plain of good soil, extending a considerable distance back towards the desert. During the inundation, this plain becomes evidently an island, as there is a channel worn by water, in the rear of it, at this season dry. The tracks of the hippopotamus are found throughout this plain.
By the 29th, in the afternoon, i.e. in two days and a half, the Pasha had finished transporting into Sennaar the whole of his camp, consisting of about six thousand persons, with the artillery, ammunition, tents, baggage, horses, camels, and asses, by the aid of nine boats, none of them large, an expedition, I believe, unparalleled in the annals of Turkish warfare.47
During our stay on the other side of the Bahar el Abiud, it was reported in the camp that some of the Mogrebin soldiers, gone out to shoot gazelles, had killed in the desert which lies off from the river, an animal, resembling a bull, except that its feet were like those of a camel. I did not see this animal, but the story was affirmed to me by several.
The army, on its crossing the Bahar el Abiud, encamped on the point of land just below which the Bahar el Abiud and the Nile join each other. The water of the Bahar el Abiud is troubled and whitish, and has a peculiar sweetish taste. The soldiers said that "the water of the Bahar el Abiud would not quench thirst." This notion probably arose from the circumstance that they were never tired of drinking it, it is so light and sweet. The water of the Nile is at present perfectly pure and transparent, but by no means so agreeable to the palate as that of the Bahar el Abiud, as I experimented myself, drinking first of the Bahar el Abiud, and then walking about two hundred yards across the point, and drinking of the Nile, the water of which appeared to me hard and tasteless in comparison.
Nothing of the kind could be easier than to ascend the Bahar el Abiud from the place where we are. A canja, well manned and armed, and accompanied by another boat containing provisions for four or six months, and both furnished with grapnels to enable them at night to anchor in the river, might, in my opinion, ascend and return securely: as the tribes on its borders have great dread of fire-arms, and will hardly dare to meddle with those who carry them.
We stayed on the Sennaar side of the Bahar el Abiud till the 1st of Ramadan, when the army commenced its march for Sennaar, the capital, proceeding by the bank of the Nile.48
The army reached Sennaar in thirteen days. The signal for striking the tents and loading the camels was generally fired about two hours after midnight. One hour was allowed for loading the baggage, when a second cannon was fired, and the march of the army commenced, and was continued each day till about two or three hours before noon, when the camp reposed till about two hours after midnight of the same day. The army suffered severely during this march; nothing was given to the troops for subsistence but durra, unground, which the soldiers were frequently in great distress to obtain the means of making into meal, in order to bake a little miserable bread, which was all they had to eat.49 For myself, I was reduced to great extremity. The camel, carrying my provisions and culinary utensils, and several other articles, was lost by the carelessness of a domestic. I was consequently left without any thing to eat, or the means of preparing what I might obtain. I threw myself under the hospitable shade of the tent of Mr. Caillaud, (then only occupied by Mr. Constant, his companion,) the gentleman I have mentioned in the Preface with so much well merited esteem, where I stayed till my arrival at Sennaar.
The country we traversed is that part of the kingdom of Sennaar which lies between the Nile and the Bahar el Abiud. It is an immense and fertile plain, occupied by numerous villages, some of them very large; that of "Wahat Medinet," for instance, containing, probably, four or five thousand inhabitants. What country we saw was, at this season, perfectly naked of grass, consisting generally of immense fields which, in the season past, had been planted with durra. Acacia trees, and bushes in the country far back from the river, (which is sandy,) were abundant, but no herbage was visible; I did not see throughout our route a single waterwheel;50 and I believe that the country is only cultivated when the inundation has retired.
The houses of the villages are built in the following manner. A circle of stakes is planted in the ground, a conical frame of poles attached to these stakes below, and meeting and fastened at the top of the cone, forms the roof. This roof, and the sides of the house, are then covered with thatched straw, which suffices to exclude the rains.
Some of the houses, however, belonging to the chiefs are of a stronger fabric, being composed of thick walls made of bricks dried in the sun, and having terraced roofs. In the thatched cottages I have mentioned, the air and light come in by the doorway and four small holes pierced in the walls of the house. This scanty ventilation renders these cottages very hot and close: the difference between the temperature of an inhabited house and that of the air outside being, in my judgment, almost as great as that of the undressing room of a bath at Cairo, and that of the passage just outside of the bath itself. This circumstance alone is almost sufficient to account for the great mortality in Sennaar, during the rainy season, when whole families are shut up in these close cottages; and every one who goes abroad must necessarily go with his pores in a condition expressly adapted to make him catch a cold or a fever.
Six days before the army reached Sennaar, the Pasha was met by an ambassador from the Sultan; he had an audience of his Excellence, and returned the next day to Sennaar. He was a handsome young man, accompanied by a numerous suite mounted on dromedaries. The army pursued its route, steadily marching in order of battle, the infantry in the centre, the cavalry on the wings; the artillery in advance of the centre and the baggage in the rear, with Shouus' cavalry and the dromedary corps of Abbadies scouring our front and flanks to a great distance. Two days after it was reported in the camp that the Sultan of Sennaar was on his way to meet us with a strong force, preceded by numerous elephants and great herds of cattle, collected in order to receive and exhaust the fire of our troops. The Pasha proceeded however steadily on with the army in order of battle, and equally prepared for peace or war. Two days before the arrival of the army in Sennaar, as I was riding near the Topgi Bashi, who was in front of the army with the artillery, I saw a great number of armed men approaching, mounted on horses and dromedaries. Presently the Malek of Shendi (who had accompanied the Pasha)51, rode up to the Pasha and informed him that the strangers approaching were the principal officers of the Sultan of Sennaar, and their suite, who had come to demand terms of peace.
I saw these personages when they arrived. They were two, one a tall thin elderly man of a mulatto complexion, dressed in green and yellow silks of costly fabric, with a cap of a singular form, something resembling a crown, made of the same materials, upon his head. The other was the same young man who had come a few days past to the Pasha. He was dressed to-day in silks like the other, except that his head was bare of ornament. They were accompanied by a fine lad about sixteen, who was, it is said, the son of the predecessor of the present Sultan. All three were mounted on tall and beautiful horses, and accompanied by about two hundred soldiers of the Sultan, mounted on dromedaries, and armed with broadswords, lances and shields.
When the Pasha was informed of their approach by the Malek of Shendi, he ordered a halt. The tent of the Pasha was pitched, and the ambassadors were introduced. They were treated with great attention and liberality by the Pasha, who, during the day and the course of the evening following, gave them opportunities enough to be convinced of the immense superiority of our arms to theirs. During the evening, some star rockets and bombs were thrown for their amusement and edification. No language can do justice to their astonishment at the spectacle, which undoubtedly produced the effect intended by the Pasha—humility and a sense of inferiority. The next morning at an early hour the army pursued its march, accompanied by the ambassadors from Sennaar.
About the hour of noon, the outscouts announced to the Pasha that the Sultan of Sennaar himself was approaching to salute his Excellence. On his approach, the army received him with the honors due to his rank. He was conducted to the tent of the Pasha, by the ambassadors he had sent, where he remained in audience with his Excellence a long time. When the audience was finished, he and the personages he had before sent to the Pasha were splendidly habited in the Turkish fashion, and presented with horses, furnished with saddles and bridles embroidered with gold.52
It was on the morning following that the army reached the capital. We marched in order of battle. The Pasha, accompanied by the Sultan of Sennaar and his chief servants, in front. On approaching the city, the army saluted this long wished for town, where they imagined that their toils and privations would cease, at least for a time, with repeated and continued volleys of cannon and musquetry, accompanied with shouts of exultation. But these shouts subsided on a nearer approach, on finding this once powerful city of Sennaar to be almost nothing but heaps of ruins, containing in some of its quarters some few hundreds of habitable but almost deserted houses. After the camp was pitched, and I had refreshed myself with a little food, I took a walk about the town. At almost every step I trod upon fragments of burnt bricks, among which are frequently to be found fragments of porcelain, and sometimes marble. The most conspicuous buildings in Sennaar are a mosque, and a large brick palace adjoining it. The mosque, which is of brick, is in good preservation; its windows are covered with well wrought bronze gratings, and the doors are handsomely and curiously carved. The interior was desecrated by uncouth figures of animals, portrayed upon the walls with charcoal. This profanation had been perpetrated by the Pagan mountaineers who inhabit the mountains thirteen days march south of Sennaar, and who, at some period, not very long past, had taken the town, and had left upon the walls of the mosque these tokens of possession.
The palace is large, but in ruins, except the centre building, which is six stories high, having five rows of windows.53 By mounting upon its roof you have the best possible view of the city, the river, and the environs, that the place can afford. I judged that Sennaar was about three miles in circumference. The greater part of this space is now covered with the ruins of houses, built of bricks either burnt or dried in the sun. I do not believe that there are more than four hundred houses standing in Sennaar and of these one-third or more are round cottages, like those of the villages. Of those built of bricks, the largest is the house of the Sultan. It is a large enclosure, containing ranges of low but well built habitations of sun-dried bricks, with terraced roofs, and the interior stuccoed with fine clay. What struck me the most, was the workmanship of the doors of the old houses of Sennaar, which are composed of planed and jointed planks, adorned frequently with carved work, and strengthened and studded with very broad headed nails; the whole inimitable by the present population of Sennaar. These houses are very rarely of more than one story in height, the roofs terraced with fine and well beaten clay spread over mats laid upon rafters, which form the roof.
The city of Sennaar is of an oblong form, its longest side opposite the river. It stands not at any distance from the river, but directly upon its west bank, which consists hereabouts of hard clay.
The river is now rising,54 but exhibits itself at present to the view as narrow and winding, as far as the eye can reach, between sand flats, which will shortly be covered by its augmenting waters. The bed of the Nile opposite Sennaar may be reckoned at about half a mile broad.
The environs of Sennaar are wide plains, containing large and populous villages. A long ragged mountain, the only one visible, stands about fifteen miles to the west of the town. Below the town is a small but pretty island, whose inhabitants thrive by raising vegetables for the market of Sennaar; and the opposite bank of the river, presents several verdant patches of ground devoted to the same object.55 Beyond these spots, the country on the other bank appeared to be mostly covered with trees and bushes, among which I saw four elephants feeding.
I could not find any remains of any very ancient building in Sennaar during my stay, and I believe that none exists there. Such is the present appearance of a town which has evidently been once rich, comfortable and nourishing, but which, for eighteen years past, as I have been informed, has been the lacerated prey of War and Confusion.
On the day after our arrival the conditions of the accord between the Pasha and the Sultan of Sennaar were arranged and sealed; by which the latter recognized himself as subject and feudatory of the Grand Seignor, and surrendered his dominions to the supremacy and sway of the Vizier of the Padischah, Mehemmed Ali Pasha. The next day the Tchocadar Aga of his Highness the Viceroy of Egypt, who had arrived in our camp two months past, embarked in the canja of the Pasha Ismael to carry the documents of this important transaction to Cairo.
For several days after our arrival at Sennaar, our camp was incommoded by furious squalls of wind, accompanied with thunder, lightning, and torrents of rain. The Pasha therefore determined to caserne the troops in the houses of the town, and to stay there during the rainy season. In ten days after our arrival, the army was distributed throughout the town and in the villages on the opposite bank of the river. The Pasha himself took up his quarters in a large house of the Sultan of Sennaar, which had been prepared for his accommodation.
A few days after our arrival, a slave informed the Pasha that the Sultan of Sennaar, before our arrival, had thrown into the river some cannon. The Pasha ordered search to be made; four iron guns were discovered by divers, and were dragged on shore. They appeared to me to be ordinary ship guns; no mark or inscription was found on them to enable me to judge where they were fabricated. I believe them however to have been originally obtained of the Portuguese by the Abyssinians, from whom the people said the Sultan of Sennaar had taken them in some ancient war between the two kingdoms.
On the 19th of Ramadan, a party of Bedouins were ordered by the Pasha to go in pursuit of some hundred black slaves of the Sultan of Sennaar, who some time before our arrival had run away, taking with them some of his best horses. On the 23d they returned, bringing with them between five and six hundred negroes of both sexes. But on Malek Shouus going to the Pasha and representing to him that these people were not the fugitives in question, the Pasha ordered them to be immediately released and to return to their respective villages.
About the same time the Pasha detached Cogia Achmet with thirteen hundred cavalry and three pieces of artillery to the upper country of Sennaar between the Bahar el Abiud and the Nile to secure its submission.56 And on the 26th of the moon the Divan Effendi was sent with three hundred men across the Nile, to secure that part of the kingdom of Sennaar which lies on the east side of the Nile.57
Seven days after our arrival in Sennaar I put in execution a resolution the state of my health obliged me to determine on, and demanded of the Pasha permission to return to Cairo. I represented to him, that all the critical operations of the campaign were now happily concluded, and crowned with the fullest success; and that, therefore, he could have no particular need of me any longer. I stated to him that repeated sickness during the campaign had rendered my health very infirm, and that a residence of four months at Sennaar, during the rainy season, would probably destroy me; and as my presence for that time at least could be no ways necessary, I requested him to grant the permission demanded, telling him that if, after the rainy season was finished, he should think proper to recall me to camp that I would obey the summons. The Pasha hesitated, and for several days declined granting my request; but on its being represented to him that the reasons I had stated were really just and sufficient causes for my return, his Excellence finally told me, that on the return of Cogia Achmet he should dispatch a courier to Cairo, and that I should accompany him.
On the third day of the Feast of Bairam I saw the Sultan of Sennaar parade the town in great ceremony. He was mounted on a superb horse, and clothed in green and yellow silks, but his head was bare of every thing but its natural wool. Over his head an officer carried a large umbrella of green and yellow silks in alternate stripes. He was accompanied by the officers of his palace, and his guard, beautifully mounted, and followed by the native population of Sennaar, both men and women, who uttered shrill cries, which were now and then interrupted by the sound of a most lugubrious trumpet which preceded the Sultan, and which was blown by a musician who, judging from the tones he produced, seemed to be afflicted with a bad cough.
On the 7th of the moon Shawal, the Divan Effendi returned to Sennaar, having crushed all attempts to oppose the establishment of the Pasha's authority in the eastern part of the kingdom of Sennaar, and bringing with him three of the chiefs of the refractory, and three hundred and fifty prisoners, as slaves. The events of this expedition were related to me as follows: "We marched without resistance for eight days, in the direction of the rising sun, through a country fine, fertile, and crowded with villages, till we came to some larger villages near a mountain called 'Catta,' where we found four or five hundred men posted in front of them to resist our march They were armed with lances, and presented themselves to the combat with great resolution. But on experiencing the effects of our fire-arms, they took to flight toward the mountain; two hundred of them were hemmed in, and cut to pieces, and three of their chiefs were taken prisoners, as well as all the inhabitants we could find in their villages; after which we returned."
On my demanding if water was plentiful at a distance from the river, my informant replied, that "there were wells in abundance in all the numerous villages, with which the country abounds; and also numerous rivulets and streams, which at this season descend from the mountains. The troops, he said, had forded two small rivers (probably the Ratt and the Dandar); he added, that the country abounded in beautiful birds and insects, one of the latter he brought with him; it was a small scarabeus, covered with a fine close crimson down, exactly resembling scarlet velvet. The people of the country he described as very harmless, and exceedingly anxious to know what had brought us to Sennaar to trouble them."
Two of these Chiefs taken prisoners the Pasha ordered to be impaled in the market-place of Sennaar. They suffered this horrid death with great firmness. One of them said nothing but "there is no God but God, and Mohammed is his Apostle," which he frequently repeated before impalement; while the other, named Abdallah, insulted, defied, and cursed his executioners, calling them "robbers and murderers," till too weak to speak, when he expressed his feelings by spitting at them.58 The third Chief was detained prisoner, in order to be sent to Cairo.
During my stay in Sennaar, I endeavored to get information of the people of the country, and of the few caravan merchants found in the market-place of Sennaar, relative to the Bahar el Abiud and the Nile. The information I received was as follows: "The source of the Adit (so the people of Sennaar call the river that runs by their city) is in the Gibel el Gumara, (i.e. that great range of mountains called the Mountains of the Moon,) about sixty days march of a camel from Sennaar. in a direction nearly south. It receives, at various distances above Sennaar, several smaller rivers which come from Abyssinia and from the mountains south of Sennaar. The general course of the Bahar el Abiud (they said) was nearly parallel with that of the Adit, but its source was much farther off, among the Gibel el Gumara, than that of the Adit. The Bahar el Abiud, they said, appears very large at the place where the Pasha's army crossed it, because it is augmented from the junction of three other rivers, one from the south-west, and two others from the east, running from the mountains south of Sennaar."59 On my asking them, "whether the Bahar el Abiud was open and free of shellals or rapids?" they said, "that at a place called Sulluk, about fifteen days march above its junction with the Adit, (i.e. above the place where we crossed the Bahar el Abiud,) there was a shellal, which they believed that boats could not pass.60 On my asking whether, by following the banks of the Bahar el Abiud and the river that empties into it from the west, it was not possible to reach a city called Tombut or Tombuctoo?" They said, that "they knew nothing of the city I mentioned, having never been farther west than Kordofan and Darfour."
This was all I could learn: but I am disposed to believe, that the main stream of the Bahar el Abiud cannot have its source in the same latitude with that of the Adit, because it commenced its rise, at least, this year, about twenty days sooner than did the Adit, and the different color of its waters proves that it flows through a tract differing in quality of soil from that through which passes the Adit. The interesting question, "whether the Niger communicates with the Bahar el Abiud?" will, however, very probably be determined before the close of another year, as the Pasha will probably send an expedition up that river.
Secondly, I am further disposed to believe that the main stream of the Adit, or Nile of Bruce, does not take its rise in Abyssinia, but in the mountains assigned as the place of its origin by the people of Sennaar. For on viewing the mass of water that runs by Sennaar even now, when the river has not attained two-thirds of the usual magnitude it acquires during the rainy season, I can by no means believe that the main source of such a river is only about three hundred miles distant from Sennaar.
The tract of country included between the Adit and the Bahar el Abiud is called El Gezira, i.e. the island: because, in the season of the rains, many rivers running from the mountains in the south into the Bahar el Abiud and the Adit, occasion this tract to be included by rivers.
I am disposed to believe, that the representations made of the climate of this country are much exaggerated; as, except during the rainy season, and immediately after it, the country is a high and dry plain,61 by no means excessively hot, because the level of the countries on the Nile being constantly ascending from Egypt, occasions Sennaar to be many hundred feet higher than the level of Egypt, which is proved by the rapid descent of the waters of the Nile toward the latter country. The east and south winds also are, in Sennaar, cool breezes; because they come either from the mountains of Abyssinia, or the huge and high ranges which compose the Gibel el Gumara. I was in Sennaar at Midsummer, and at no time found the heat very uncomfortable, provided I was in the open air, and under a shade. In the cottages and houses, indeed, on account of their want of ventilation, the heat was excessive.
I made during my stay in Sennaar frequent inquiries about the fly mentioned by Bruce; the people of Sennaar said they knew nothing of it;62 but, in reply to my inquiries, referred to a worm, which they say comes out of the earth during the rainy season, and whose bite is dangerous.
The reptile species in Sennaar are numerous. The houses are full of lizards, which, if you lie on the floor, you may feel crawling or running over you all night. I saw at Sennaar a serpent of a species, I believe, never before mentioned. It was a snake of about two feet long, and not thicker than my thumb, striped on the back, with a copper colored belly, and a flat head. This serpent had four legs, which did not appear to be of any use to him, as they were short and hanging from the sides of his belly. All his motions, which were quick and rapid, were made in the usual manner of serpents, i.e. upon its belly.63
I do not feel authorized to give an opinion as to the national character of the people inhabiting the kingdom of Sennaar; but I am obliged to consider the inhabitants of the capital as a very detestable people. They are exceedingly avaricious, extortionate, faithless, filthy and cruel.64 The men are generally tall and well shaped, but the females are, almost universally, the ugliest I ever beheld; this is probably owing to their being obliged to do all sorts of drudgery.
The children of these people, and indeed of all the tribes on the Upper Nile, go quite naked till near the age of puberty. A girl unmarried is distinguished by a sort of short leather apron, composed of a great number of leather thongs hanging like tassels from a leather belt fastened round the waist: and this is all her clothing, being no longer than that of our mother Eve after her fall. The married women, however, are generally habited in long coarse cotton clothes, which they wrap round them so as to cover their whole person, except when they are at work, when they wrap the whole round the waist.
As to the manufactures of the people of the Upper Nile, they are limited, I believe, to the following articles, Earthenware for domestic uses and bowls for pipes; cotton cloths for clothing; knives, mattocks, hoes and ploughs, for agriculture, water-wheels for the same; horse furniture, such as the best formed saddles I ever rode on, very neatly fabricated; stirrups in the European form, made of silver for the chiefs, and not like those of the Turks; large iron spurs, bits with small chains for reins, to prevent them from being severed by the stroke of an enemy's broadsword; long and double edged broadswords, with the guard frequently made of silver; iron heads for lances, and shields made of the hide of the elephant; to which may be added, that the women fabricate very beautiful straw mats.
There is a general resemblance, in domestic customs, among all the peoples who inhabit the borders of the Nile from Assuan to Sennaar. They differ, however, somewhat in complexion and character. The people of the province of Succoot are generally not so black as the Nubian or the Dongolese. They are also frank and prepossessing in their deportment. The Dongolese is dirty, idle, and ferocious. The character of the Shageian is the same, except that he is not idle, being either an industrious peasant or a daring freebooter. The people on the third cataract are not very industrious, but have the character of being honest and obliging. The people of Berber are by far the most civilized of all the people of the Upper Nile. The inhabitants of the provinces of Shendi and Halfya are a sullen, scowling, crafty, and ferocious people; while the peasants of Sennaar inhabiting the villages we found on our route, are a respectable people in comparison with those of the capital. Throughout the whole of these countries there is one general characteristic, in which they resemble the Indians of America, namely, courage and self-respect. The chiefs, after coming to salute the Pasha, would make no scruple of sitting down facing him, and converse with him without embarrassment, in the same manner as they are accustomed to do with their own Maleks, with whom they are very familiar. With the greatest apparent simplicity they would frequently propose troublesome questions to the Pasha, such as, "O great Sheck, or O great Malek; (for so they called the Pasha) what have we done to you, or your country, that you should come so far to make war upon us? Is it for want of food in your country that you come to get it in ours?" and others similar.
On the 14th of the moon Shawal, Cogia Achmet returned to Sennaar, bringing with him about two thousand prisoners as slaves, consisting almost entirely of women and children. The events of his expedition were related to me as follows: He marched rapidly for ten days in a direction about south-west of Sennaar, (the capital) without resistance, through a well-peopled country, without meeting with any opposition till he came to the mountains of Bokki, inhabited by Pagans, the followers of the chief who had rejected the Pasha's letter. They were posted on a mountain of difficult access; but their post was stormed, and after a desperate struggle, they found that spears and swords, though wielded by stout hearts and able hands, were not a match for fire-arms. They fled to another mountain, rearward of their first position. They were again attacked by cannon and musketry, and obliged to fly toward a third position: in their flight, they were in part hemmed in by the cavalry of Cogia Achmet, and about fifteen hundred of them put to the sword. Those who escaped took refuge in a craggy mountain, inaccessible to cavalry. Cogia Achmet, believing he had made a sufficient proof to them that resistance on their part was unavailing, and the troops having suffered great distress by reason of the almost continual rains, after sweeping the villages of these people of all the population they could find in them, resumed his march for Sennaar. On their return, they had to ford several deep streams, at this season running from the mountains, and both horse and man were almost worn out before they reached Sennaar.
The people of Bokki are a hardy race of mountaineers—tall, stout, and handsome. They are Pagans, worshippers of the sun, which planet they consider it as profane to look at. The prisoners brought in by Cogia Achmet resembled in their dress the savages of America; they were almost covered with beads, bracelets, and trinkets, made out of pebbles, bones, and ivory. Their complexion is almost black, and their manners and deportment prepossessing. The arms of these people gave me great surprise: they consisted of well-formed and handsome helmets of iron, coats of mail, made of leather and overlaid with plates of iron, long and well fashioned lances, and a hand-weapon exactly resembling the ancient bills formerly used in England by the yeomanry. They were represented to me by the Turks as dangerous in personal combat. They had never seen fire-arms before, and they nevertheless withstood them with great intrepidity. They said, I was informed, that a fusee was "a coward's weapon, who stands at a safe distance from his enemy, and kills him by an invisible stroke."65
On the 17th, the courier carrying the information to Cairo of this expedition and its results, embarked in a canja to descend the river as far as Berber, from whence he would proceed by the desert to Egypt. Agreeably to the promise of the Pasha, I accompanied him. We arrived at Nousreddin in Berber in five days and nights. Having the favor of the current, and sixteen oarsmen on board, we descended with great rapidity. The view of the country from the river is not pleasing, as the villages lie almost invariably far off from the river; the country, therefore, has the appearance of being almost uninhabited. We saw great numbers of hippopotami, who, in the night, would lift their heads out of the water at no great distance from the canja. They were sometimes fired at, but without apparent effect. We stopped, during the night, for an hour at Shendi, to leave orders from the Pasha to a small garrison of Turkish troops stationed there.66 The river Nile, below the point of junction with the great Bahar el Abiud, presents a truly magnificent spectacle.67 Between Halfya and Shendi, the river is straitened and traverses a deep and gloomy defile formed by high rocky hills, between which the Nile runs dark, deep, and rapidly for about twelve or fifteen miles. On emerging from this defile, the river again spreads itself majestically, and flows between immense plains of herbage, bounded only by the horizon: its banks nearly full, but not yet overflowed. About thirty miles above Nousreddin, we passed the mouth of the Bahar el Iswood (on the eastern shore); it is the last river that empties into the Nile. I estimated it at about two-thirds of a mile broad at its embouchure. The Nile, below the point of junction with this river, is more than two miles from bank to bank, at this season. During the two first days of our voyage, we had some severe squalls and very heavy rains; but after passing the territory of Sennaar, we had a sky almost without a cloud.
On our arrival at Nousreddin, no more dromedaries could be immediately obtained than were sufficient to mount the courier and his two guides. I was, therefore, obliged to tarry five days in Nousreddin before I could find a caravan journeying to Egypt.
On the 28th of Shawal, I quitted Nousreddin, along with a caravan on its way to Egypt from Sennaar, conducted by a soldier attached to the Cadilaskier of the army of Ismael Pasha, who was conducting to Egypt twenty-two dromedaries and camels, and some slaves, belonging to the Cadilaskier, and four fine horses belonging to the Pasha.
We started at about three hours before noon, and after marching for three hours, stopped at a village named Sheraffey, to obtain rations for the horses and camels to subsist them through the desert. Our route lay on the outside of the villages, and on the border of the desert. The villages are numerous and well built of sun-dried bricks, and the face of the country, on our side of the river, perfectly level.
We stayed at Sheraffey until the next morning: the conductor of the caravan not being able to obtain at this place the durra he wanted for his cattle, we proceeded to a village called Hassah, which is about an hour's march from Sheraffey. We stayed there till next morning.
On the 30th of the Moon, at day-light, we mounted our camels, and proceeded on our road, which lay on the skirts of the desert. We passed a continual succession of large, well-built and populous villages, lying about a mile distant from the river; the weather serene and cool, as it has been since our arrival in Berber. We halted at about the middle of the forenoon, by a village called Abdea, until an hour and a half before sunset, when we again set forward, and after marching for three hours and a half, halted for the remainder of the night in a small village, half in ruins. The reason of our short marches and frequent stoppages was, to give the conductor of the caravan opportunities to make provision for passing the desert. He might have done it at any of the villages, had he been content to pay the price demanded; but as he was a man who seemed to hold hard bargains in horror, and to love money with great affection, he did not give the latter for durra till he was absolutely obliged to make the afflictive exchange.
On the 1st of Zilkade we started at daylight, and marched till about two hours after sunrise, when we stopped at some villages called Gannettee. The country we passed since yesterday is the desert, which comes down close to the river's bank, presenting but few spots fit for cultivation. We were informed last night, that the camp of Mehemmet Bey, who is on his way from Egypt with five thousand men, to take possession of Darfour and Kordofan, is on the other side of the river.68 The weather continues serene and not very hot. Stayed at Gannettee till about the middle of the afternoon, when we proceeded on our journey through a a desert and dreary country, without either habitations or cultivation, as the desert comes here down to the river. The rocks and stones of the desert are generally of black granite. No verdure was to be seen, except on the margin of the river. The river hereabouts is much impeded by rocks and rapids, but contains many beautiful islands, some of them very large, fertile, populous, and well cultivated. Malek Mohammed el Hadgin commands this country. His province, called "El Raba Tab," contains eighty-eight large and fertile islands, and the shores of the river adjacent. He has a very high character for courage, morals, and generosity; he resides on the great island of Mograt, which is said to be about sixty miles long.69
We halted at about three hours before midnight on the bank of the river, within hearing of a Shellal, where the river forms a regular cataract, except a small pass on the easterly shore. After reposing the camels an hour and a half, and refreshing ourselves with bread and the muddy water of the Nile, we recommenced our march, which was continued without cessation till an hour before noon next morning, always through the desert, in order to cut a point of land formed by an angle in the river, when we stopped under the shade of some fine date trees on the bank of the river, and in view of one of its large and ever verdant isles, called Kandessee, in a small island adjoining which Khalil Aga, my companion, says he saw, when he ascended the third cataract,70 a pyramid more modern and fresh than any he had seen in these countries. Possibly the island of Kandessee takes its name from the celebrated Candace, who, in the reign of Nero, repulsed and defeated the Roman legions, and this pyramid may be her tomb. Under the date trees, on the bank of the river opposite to this island, we refreshed ourselves with our usual repast, bread and water, as the people of a village close by would give us meat neither for love, money, nor soap,71 of which latter article they stand in great but unconscious need.
3d of Zilkade quitted our station about two hours after midnight, and went on our way. Our route continued to lie through the desert, but not far from the bank of the river; about three hours before noon in the morning came to a small village, named Haphasheem, lying on the margin of the river, opposite a verdant island it was delightful to look at. The river on the third cataract, Khalil Aga tells me, contains a continual chain of such.72 I could not get any thing to relish our usual repast of bread and water, except some dates.
My eyes to-day were much inflamed by the reflection of the sun's rays from the sand, and at night were very painful and running with matter. Stayed here till about the same hour after midnight as yesterday, when we again set forward. The country the same as yesterday, except that we saw several stony mountains in the desert, some of them at no great distance from the river. Some of these mountains must contain ruins, as at the village where we halted to-day, which we did at about noon, we found a very large and well-fashioned burnt brick, which the peasants said was brought from one of these mountains. The whole of the country through which we have passed for four days contains no cultivable land on this side of the river, except on its margin; but in compensation for this sterility, the islands in this part of the river, which are numerous, very large, and very beautiful, are without a superior for luxuriance of vegetation. Every day when we have come to the river to halt and refresh ourselves, we found one or more in view. At this last station I was lucky enough to purchase a small kid at the enormous price of twelve piasters, the first meat we had eaten for four days. Applied at night a poultice of dates to my eyes, which were much inflamed by today's march, and found some relief from the remedy. At about three hours after midnight we again resumed our travel, and marched till an hour before noon of to-day, the 5th of Zilkade expecting to arrive at the place where the road quits the river, and plunges into the great eastern desert of Africa; but the weather becoming close and very hot, and the camels fatigued, we halted to repose them and ourselves on the bank of the river. Shortly after our arrival two of the camels of the caravan died. Our route still lay through plains and over hills of rock and sand, which come down to the river's edge, but the river, as usual, presented a continual succession of beautiful islands.
The death of the two camels having alarmed the conductor of the caravan for the others, we stayed in this place till the middle of the second day after to repose and refresh them previous to entering the desert. During our stay here I engaged a man to swim over to the island opposite, to purchase some durra flour and dates. He could, however, obtain only some dates. I was obliged, in consequence, to reconcile myself to entering the desert short of provisions. I had made provision in Berber for fifteen days, being assured that in twelve days we should have passed the desert, and arrive at the villages on the bank of the Nile four days march above Assuan. The unexpected retardments of our march from Berber had, however, made us nine days in arriving at the place where the road turns into the desert. On the 7th of the moon, at about two hours before sunset, we quitted our halting-place, and after only one hour's march by the border of the river came to a place where the Nile suddenly turns off toward the south-west.73 At this place the guide told us we were to fill our waterskins, and to quit the river for the desert.
We stayed here till the afternoon of the 8th of the moon.
The two last nights we have kept watch, and only slept with our hands upon our arms, robbers being, we were told, in this neighborhood, who had lately pillaged some caravans. We were not, however, molested. The desert, on the border of the river hereabouts, abounds with doum trees, which are inhabited by great numbers of monkeys. Its fruit furnishes their food. This fruit consists in a large nut, on the outside covered with a brown substance almost exactly resembling burned gingerbread. It is, however, so hard that no other teeth and jaws, except those of a monkey or an Arab, are well capable of biting it. About one hour's march below our present position is an encampment of Bedouins and the tomb of a Marabout. The people of the country and the caravans had piled his grave with camels' and asses saddles, probably intended as offerings to interest his good offices in the other world.
At about four hours after the noon of the 8th, we quitted the banks of the Nile, and turned into the desert, carrying as much water as we well could, myself taking four water-skins for myself, Khalil Aga, and a black slave of mine. We marched till about an hour before midnight, when we halted for an hour to breathe the camels and to eat a morsel of bread, after which we continued our way till nearly day-break, when one of the Pasha's horses falling down and refusing to rise, it was necessary to wait till the animal had taken a little rest. We threw ourselves upon the sand, and slept profoundly for two hours, when we were roused to continue our journey. We proceeded till about two hours before noon, when we halted in a low sandy plain, sprinkled here and there with thorny bushes. These bushes afforded food for the camels, and a miserable shelter from the sun for ourselves. We shoved embodies under them as closely to their roots as the thorns would admit, to sleep as well sheltered as possible from the burning rays of the vertical sun. But sound sleep in this condition was impossible, as every half-hour the sun advancing in his course contracted or changed the shadow of the bush, and obliged us to change our position; as to sleep in his rays in this climate is not only almost impossible but dangerous, it almost infallibly producing a fever of the brain.
The country we traversed this first day's journey is a level plain of sand and gravel, with scattered mountains of black granite here and there in view, where no sound is heard but the rush of the wind. The weather was cool enough during the day, and coldish in the night.74 In the afternoon we again set forward, proceeding and halting as yesterday, viz. once for an hour about two hours before midnight, and once again a little before day-break for an hour and a half. The desert continued to exhibit the same aspect as before till about midnight, when we quitted the plains to enter among gloomy defiles, winding between mountains of black granite. We passed one chain, and at a little beyond the entrance of another, lying about two leagues to the north of the first, the guide told us that we were near the well Apseach; soon after we arrived at a place containing bushes. Here the caravan halted, and those who wanted fresh water filled their water-skins from the well which lies in the mountains, about an hour's march from the place where we halted. This well is at the bottom of an oblique passage leading into one of the mountains, at the termination of which is found no great quantity of sweet water deposited by the rains which fall in this country about the time of the summer solstice.75 During the last two days I traveled in great pain; the reflection of the sun from the sand, and the strong wind from the north (prevalent at this season in the desert), which blew its finer particles into my eyes, in spite of all my precautions to shelter them, exasperated and inflamed their malady to a great degree, which the want of sufficient shelter from the sun, during the time of repose, contributed to aggravate.
We stayed near the well till about sunset, when we resumed our travel, and at about three hours after sunrise on the morning of the 10th, came to a rock in a sandy plain, where the conductor of the caravan ordered a halt. We distributed ourselves round this rock as well as we could, in order to repose;76 Khalil Aga and myself making a covering from the sun by means of my carpet, propped up by our fusees and fastened by the corners to stones we placed upon the rock, by means of our shawls and sashes. We stayed here till the middle of the afternoon, when we mounted our camels in order to reach the well Morat as soon as possible, in order to water those patient and indispensable voyagers of the desert.77 We traversed a tolerably level but rocky tract till about two hours after midnight, when we reached the well. It lies in a valley between two high chains of mountains of black granite. Its water is somewhat bitter, as its name imports, and is not drank by travelers except when their water-skins are exhausted. It serves, however, for the camels of the caravans, and for the inhabitants of two Arab villages in the vicinity, named "Abu Hammak" and "Dohap" who brought their camels to water here the morning after our arrival. These poor but contented people are obliged to subsist, for the most part, upon their camels' milk, their situation affording little other means of nourishment. They are, however, independent, and remote from the tyranny and oppression which afflicts the people of most of the countries of the east.78
On the rocks near the well we saw some rude hieroglyphics, representing bulls, horses, and camels, cut in the granite, in the manner of those found in the rocks near Assuan, on the south side of the cataract. Our guide tells us that such cuttings in the rocks are found in many of the mountains of the desert.
During our stay at Morat a violent dispute had arisen among the Arabs of our caravan about some money which had been stolen from one of them. The man suspected of the theft endeavored to justify himself by much hard swearing, but circumstances being strong against him, I told the man who had been robbed, that if the money was not restored previous to our arrival at Assuan, I would speak to the Cacheff about the affair, who would take the proper measures to detect and punish the thief. In consequence of this menace, the man robbed, next morning had the satisfaction to find unexpectedly that his money had been secretly restored and deposited among the baggage, from whence it had been stolen.
On the 13th, at sunset, we quitted Morat; and after a winding march among the hills for five hours, we arrived at a broad valley, surrounded by high mountains and abounding in doum trees, the first we had seen since we quitted the river. This place is called "El Medina." It contains an Arab village, whose inhabitants gain something by supplying the caravans with goats, of which they have many, and by furnishing them with water, of which they possess several reservoirs filled by the rains. We reposed for the rest of the night under the doum trees, and in the morning regaled ourselves with the pure and wholesome water of El Medina, which was to me particularly grateful after being obliged to drink, for several days, either the muddy water we had brought from the river, or that of Apseach, which had become heated by the sun, and impregnated with a disgusting smell, derived from the new leather of the water-bags which contained it. I bought here a fat goat and some milk, which made us a feast, which hunger and several days fasting on bad bread made delicious.
We stayed here to water and repose the camels till the afternoon of the second day after our arrival, when we recommenced our march for the river, whose distance we were told was three days march from El Medina. During our stay at El Medina, Khalil Aga my companion was taken very ill with vomiting and purging, occasioned by having drank of the water of Morat, against which I had remonstrated without effect. He did not get quit of the consequences of his imprudence for several days.
On the 15th, in the afternoon, we commenced our march for the river. The desert hereabouts resembles that we passed the two first days after our quitting the river, being a sandy plain studded with hills and mountains of granite. We proceeded till about three hours after midnight, when we lay down to repose till day-break, when we again mounted and continued our journey till two hours before noon, when we stopped at a rock which had some holes in it, where we sheltered ourselves from the sun, and dined with appetite on some coarse durra bread baked upon camel's dung.
By the middle of the afternoon we were again on our way, which led through the deep and winding valleys of three mountains of calcareous stone, which indicated the proximity of the river, and over hills of deep sand, with which the eddies of the wind had in many places filled those valleys. Since we left Morat till we came to these mountains the granite hills had become rarer, others of calcareous stone here and there presented themselves, and the level of the desert was constantly ascending79 I have no doubt that the level of the interior of the desert is lower than the bed of the river.
During the passage over these hills several of the camels gave out, that of my black slave among the rest.80 Four hours after sunrise we came to a valley, where there was here and there some herbs of the desert, where we stopped to let the camels eat, they having fasted since we left El Medina.
We were obliged to look among the rocks for shelter from the sun, each one arranging himself as well as he could to eat durra bread and drink warm water, and sleep as soundly as possible. During the course of last night we fell in with a caravan coming from Assuan; we pressed round them to buy something to eat; we asked for dates and flour to make bread, but they had nothing of the kind that they could afford to part with.
We stayed at the rock before mentioned till the middle of the afternoon. On awaking from sleep, I observed two of the Arabs of our caravan busily employed about our guide. They were a long time engaged in frizzing and plaiting his hair, and finished the operation by pouring over it a bowlful of melted mutton suet, which made his head quite white. I asked for the meaning of this operation at this time; they told me that we should be at the river to-morrow morning, and that our guide was adorning himself to see and salute his friends there. He appeared to be highly satisfied with the efforts of his hair-dressers to make him look decent, and it must be confessed that he made a very buckish appearance.
As soon as our guide had finished his toilette, he mounted his dromedary and took his post in front, and we set forward. We marched all night without stopping, which was necessary, as our water was nearly spent,81 but which distressed greatly that part of our caravan who had no beast to ride.82 These wretched men had hitherto accompanied us all the way on foot, with little to eat and less to drink. At present they were almost exhausted with fatigue, hunger and thirst. Every now and then, one or more of them would throw himself on the sand in despair. The repeated assurance that the river was near, hour after hour, became less and less capable of rousing them to exertion, and the whip was at length applied to make them get up and go on.83 They demanded water immediately, which we were too short of ourselves to give them, as we feared every minute that our camels would drop, which would render every drop of water we had as precious as life.
One unfortunate lad, who had joined the caravan before it entered the desert, I suspect a domestic who had fled from the distresses that had found us in the upper countries, made pathetic applications to me for water; I twice divided with him a bowlful I was drinking, "in the name of God, the protector of the traveler."
This young man, in the course of this toilsome night, had disappeared, having doubtless laid himself down in despair. We unfortunately did not miss him till it was too late.84 About two hours before day-break we reached the entrance of a deep ravine, between ridges and hills of rocks. We marched in it for six hours. It zigzagged perpetually, and its bottom was covered with fragments of the rocks that enclosed it, and which had apparently been displaced by strong currents of water. This phenomenon surprised me, as the entrance into this ravine being from the plain, it was evident that the currents which had produced these displacements could not at any era have come from thence. But at the termination of this ravine, which ended nearly at the river, the cause became evident. An ancient canal, now nearly filled up, leads from the river into this ravine, and the rush of the current during the seasons of inundation, has loosened and displaced fragments of the bordering mountains.
It was about two hours before noon on the 18th of Zilkade, when, emerging from this ravine, we came upon the bank of the beautiful and blessed river, which is the very heart and life's blood of all north-eastern Africa. It was with the most grateful feelings toward "the Lord of the universe," that I laid myself down under the date trees by its brink to cool and to wash my swollen and inflamed eyes, whose disorder was greatly increased by fatigue, a dazzling sun, and want of sleep.
Immediately after our arrival at the little village of Seboo,85 which stands on the canal leading to the ravine before mentioned, myself and Khalil Aga addressed ourselves to the people of the village to engage some one to go and bring to the river the unfortunate lad who had been missed. I told them that, in two hours, a man mounted on a dromedary could reach the place where he had disappeared, and save his life: I appealed to their humanity, to their sense of duty towards God and man, to engage them to go and save him. Finding them deaf to my entreaties, I offered them money, and Khalil Aga his musket, to bring him safe and sound to the river. I appealed to their humanity in vain, and to their avarice without effect.86 We told them that the Christians, in a case of this kind, would send not one but forty men, if necessary, to go and save a fellow creature from the horrible death of desert famine; and that heaven would surely require at their hands the life of this young man, if they neglected to save him At length the Sheck of the village promised me to send a dromedary to the place to-morrow morning. He made the promise probably to appease my reproaches, for he did not fulfill it.
On the second day after my arrival, I dipped my feet and slippers into the Nile, and bequeathing the village of Seboo my most hearty curse, (which God fulfill!) embarked on board a boat on its way from Dongola to Egypt, and in three days reached Assuan.87
London Printed by C. Roworth Bell Yard, Temple Bar
[ For instance, a navigable passage has been cut through the rocks of the First Cataract, and a canal is at present constructing, by order of the Pasha, round some of the most difficult passes of the Second. He has completed a broad and deep canal from the Nile to Alexandria, by which commerce is liberated from the risk attending the passage of the Boghaz of Rosetta. Large establishments for the fabric of saltpeter, gunpowder, cannon and small arms, others for the fabric of silks, cotton and sugar, have been erected by the Viceroy, and are in operation under the superintendence of Europeans.]
[ Their names are as follows:—Succoot, Machass, Dongola, Shageia, Monasier, Isyout, Rab-a-Tab, Berber, Shendi, Halfya, the kingdoms of Sennaar, Darfour, and Kordofan; at present, all subject to the conqueror of Egypt and Arabia.]
[ Mr. Frediani, an Italian*, and Messrs. Caillaud and Constant, the latter sent out by His Most Christian Majesty, have accompanied our camp to Sennaar, where I left them in good health. To Messrs. Caillaud and Constant, particularly, I am indebted for much cordiality and friendship, which it is a pleasure to me to acknowledge. The geographical positions of the most important places on the Upper Nile have been ascertained by Mr. Constant, who is provided with an excellent set of instruments, with great care and the most indefatigable pains, of which I myself have been a witness. His observations will doubtless be a most valuable acquisition to geography.]
* Since dead in Sennaar, This unfortunate man died a chained maniac, in consequence of violent fever.]
[ Corresponding to the end of September, or the former part of October, A.C. 1820.]
[ This force may be thus enumerated: ten pieces of field artillery, one mortar 8 inch caliber, and two small howitzers, attached to which were one hundred and twenty cannoneers; three hundred Turkish infantry and seven hundred Mogrebin ditto; the remainder of the army Turkish and Bedouin cavalry, together with a corps of Abbadies mounted on dromedaries.]
[ Called the Shellal of Semne.]
[ Called the Shellal of Ambigool.]
[ Called the Shellal of Tongaroo.]
[ Called the Shellal of Dal.]
[ I have been informed that about two miles northward of this place, on the west side of the river, is to be seen a curious vaulted edifice, having the interior of its walls in many places covered with paintings. My informants believed that it was anciently a Christian monastery. This is possible, as the ruins of several are to be seen on the Third Cataract, and, as I have been told, on the Second also.]
[ About seventy miles above Wady Haifa.]
[ I cannot help smiling in copying off this part of my journal, at the little account I made of "bread rice and lentils," at the commencement of the campaign. Before I left Sennaar, I have been more than once obliged to take a part of my horse's rations of durra to support nature. He ate his portion raw and I boiled mine. The causes of such distress were that the natives of the Upper country would frequently refuse to sell us any thing for our dirty colored piastres of Egypt, and the Pasha would allow nobody to steal but himself. "Steal" a fico for the phrase. The wise "convey it call," says ancient Pistol, an old soldier who had seen hard times in the wars.]
[ These were the rapids of Dall.]
[ In every dangerous pass, we invariably saw one or more of our boats wrecked.]
[ It is called Gamatee.]
[ The middle of the Upper Nile is generally occupied by an almost continued range of islands.]
[ I learned afterwards from Khalil Aga, the American, who accompanied me to Sennaar and back again to Egypt, and who visited tins spot, that this column made a part of the ruins of an ancient temple, where are to be seen two colossal statues. I set out the next day with him to visit this place, but being then only convalescent from a bloody flux which had reduced my strength, I found myself too weak to reach the place, and returned to the boat.]
[ The river continues in the same general direction as high up as the island of Mograt, on the Third Cataract, when it resumes a course more south and north. The length of this bend is probably not less than two hundred and fifty miles.]
[ i.e. The bank on our left-hand ascending the river.]
[ A more particular account of this battle will be given hereafter, in the course of the narrative.]
[ These gentlemen were Messrs. Waddington and Hanbury, who, after staying a short time in our camp, returned to Egypt. Mr. Waddington, on his return to England, published an account of his travels on the upper Nile, in which, having been misled by the tongue of some mischievous enemy of mine, he gave an account of me not a little fabulous. On my arrival in London, I wrote to Mr. Waddington what he was pleased to call a "manly and temperate letter," informing him of his error, representing to him the serious injury it might do me, and calling upon him for a justification or an apology. Mr. Waddington, in the manner best becoming an English gentleman, frankly gave me both, concluding with the following expressions—"I feel the most sincere and profound sorrow for the unintentional injustice into which I have been betrayed by too hasty a belief of false information. For this I am as anxious to make you reparation, as I am incapable of doing any person a willful injury. I will therefore cause the note in question to be erased in the following editions of my book; and in the remaining copies of the present, I will instantly insert a new page or sheet, if necessary; or should that be impossible, I will immediately destroy the whole impression." It was impossible for me, after this, to retain any of the angry feelings excited by this affair, excepting towards "the false tongue" that occasioned it, on which I cordially imprecate a plentiful portion of the "sharp arrows of the mighty and coals of juniper."]
[ The desperate courage of these wretched peasants was astonishing; they advanced more than once to the muzzles of the cannon, and wounded some of the cannoneers in the act of re-loading their guns. Notwithstanding their efforts, such was the disparity of their arms against cannon and fire-arms, that only one of the Pasha's soldiers was killed, and they are said to have lost seven hundred in the battle and during the pursuit.]
[ I say "shot down," for the saber was found an unavailing weapon, as these people are so adroit in the management of their shields that they parried every stroke. I have seen upon the field where this battle was fought several shields that had not less than ten or fifteen saber cuts, each lying upon the dead body of the man who carried it, who had evidently died by three or four balls shot into him. The soldiers have told me that they had frequently to empty their carabine and pistols upon one man before he would fall.]
[ When our troops approached the castle of Malek Zibarra, his daughter, a girl of about fifteen, fled in such haste that she dropped one of her sandals, which I have seen. It was a piece of workmanship as well wrought as any thing of the kind could be even in Europe. The girl was taken prisoner and brought to the Pasha, who clothed her magnificently in the Turkish fashion and sent her to her father, desiring her to tell him to "come and surrender himself, as he preferred to have brave men for his friends than for his enemies." When the girl arrived at the camp of Zibarra, the first question her father asked her was, "My child, in approaching your father, do you bring your honor with you?" "Yes," replied the girl, "otherwise I should not dare to look upon you. The Pasha has treated me as his child, has clothed me as you see, and desires that you would leave war to make peace with him." Zibarra was greatly affected, and did make several efforts to effect a peace with the Pasha, which were traversed and frustrated by the other chiefs of the Shageias.]
[ Khalil Aga, who has passed the whole of the third Cataract, found in several of the islands there ruins which were probably those of monasteries, as he found there many of the stones covered with Greek inscriptions, one of which he brought to me; I was obliged to abandon it on the route, on the dying of the camel that carried it.]
[ On my return to Egypt, I presented Mr. Salt with several specimens, which are now in his possession.]
[ To which all the troops had been concentrated.]
[ It has been found, however, possible to pass the whole of the third cataract, in boats not drawing more than three feet of water, by the aid of all the male population on its shores, who, by the aid of ropes, dragged up nine boats, which arrived in Berber before the Pasha commenced his march for Sennaar. They were fifty-seven days in getting from the island of Kendi to Berber. Every one of them was repeatedly damaged in getting through the passages.]
[ I have been informed that, previous to the advance of the Pasha Ismael from Wady Halfa, deputies from the chiefs of Shageia arrived in the camp to demand of the Pasha, "for what reason he menaced them with war?" The Pasha replied, "because you are robbers, who live by disturbing and pillaging all the countries around your own." They replied, "that they had no other means to live." The Pasha answered, "cultivate your land, and live honestly." They replied with great naivete, "we have been bred up to live and prosper by what you call robbery; we will not work, and cannot change our manner of living," The Pasha replied, "I will make you change it."]
[ The number of the old Mamalukes of Egypt was reduced, at the time of our arrival in Berber, to less than one hundred persons. They had, however, some hundreds of blacks, whom they had trained up in their discipline.]
[ I am happy to add that these relics of the renowned cavalry of Egypt are now residing there in ease and in honor; the promises of the Pasha Ismael having been fulfilled by his father to the letter.]
[ It is a singular circumstance, that the chiefs of Dongola, Shageia, Berber, Shendi, and Halfya; should bear the same title as used in the Hebrew bible, to designate the petty sovereigns of Canaan.]
[ The Shageia cavalry, however, wore these cloths cut and made into long shirts, in order, probably, to have the freer management of their lances, shields, and broad swords. It should also be stated, that the Maleks or chiefs of the Upper Nile, were generally habited in fine blue or white shirts, brought from Egypt.]
[ The same circumstance of dress is common also among the peasants of both sexes of Dongola, Shageia, and along the third cataract, with this addition, that they not only anoint the head, but also the whole body with butter, they say it protects them from the heat; that employed by the personages of consideration is perfumed. Every Malek has a servant charged with the particular care of a box of this ointment. On our march to Sennaar, whither we were accompanied by the Malek of Shendy, I could wind this servant of his a mile off.]
[ I never in my life saw such noble and beautiful specimens of the species as were these two horses; they were stallions, eighteen hands high, beautifully formed, of high courage and superb gait. When mounted, they tossed their flowing manes aloft higher than the heads of their turbaned riders, and a man might place his two fists in their expanded nostrils; they were worthy to have carried Ali and Khaled to "the war of God."]
[ I feel myself, however, bound in conscience to tell the whole truth of this affair. In perambulating about the town, in the course of the day, which was very hot, I got affected by a coup de soleil, which gave me a violent fever and head-ache. I have strong suspicions that this circumstance acted as a powerful "preventer stay" to my virtue, and enabled me to put the devil to flight on this trying occasion. The mother of these damsels appeared to be edified by the discourse I made to her upon the subject of her proposal, but the young women plainly told me, that I was "rajil batal," i.e. a man good for nothing. If they could have understood Latin, I should have told them,
"Quodcunque ostendes mihi sic-k Invalidus odi."]
[ The ordinary price of a virgin wife in Berber, is a horse, which the bridegroom is obliged to present to the father of the girl he demands in marriage. I remember asking a young peasant, of whom I bought some provisions one day in Berber, "why he did not marry?" He pointed to a colt in the yard, and told me that "when the colt became big enough, he should take a wife."]
[ This learned soldier somewhat surprised me, on my demanding "why he did not give the title of Caliph to the Padischah?" by answering that there had been no Caliph since Ali, and that the Padischah was only "Emir el Moumenim," i.e. "commander of the true believers."]
[ This word is Hebrew, and signifies "a lamb."]
[ Abdin Cacheff is a very brave and respectable man, of about fifty years of age. He treated me with great politeness and consideration. He distinguished himself greatly at the battle near Courty, fighting Ills way into the mass of the enemy and out again, twice or thrice on that day.]
[ In order to save the artillery horses for the exigencies of battle, the cannon were drawn by camels from the third cataract to Sennaar, and the horses were led harnessed by their respective guns, ready to be clapped on if necessary. I venture to recommend the same procedure in all marches of artillery in the east.]
[ The other side of the river, at least as often and as far as we could see it, presented the same appearance. The only mountains we saw on the other side of the river, were those of "Attar Baal," at the foot of which (they lie near the river, about three days march north of Shendi) are, as I have learned, to be seen the ruins of a city, temples, and fifty-four pyramids. This, I am inclined to believe, was the site of the famous Meroe, the capital of the island of that name. The territory in which these ruins are found is in fact nearly surrounded by rivers, being bounded on the west by the Nile, on the south by the rivers Ratt and Dander, and on the north by the Bahar el Uswood. All these three rivers empty into the Nile.]
[ The butter of the countries on the Upper Nile is liquid, like that of Egypt. That, however, which they use to anoint themselves is of the color and consistence of European butter. We used the latter in preference, in our cookery.]
[ It includes a great part of the ancient Isle of Meroe.]
[ Malek Shouus, on learning that the Malek of Shendi had made his peace with the Pasha, threatened to attack him. On this it is said the Malek of Shendi called out twenty thousand men to line the easterly bank of the Nile, to prevent the approach of Shouus. Shouus, however, had the whole country of Shendi on the western side entirely under his control before our arrival, he and his cavalry devouring their provisions and drinking their bouza at a most unmerciful rate. On our approach, he went up opposite Halfya, where the country, on the western shore, is desert. He demanded of the chief of Halfya, to supply him with provisions: on his refusal, Shouus, in the night, swam the river with his cavalry, fell upon the town of Halfya by surprise, and ransacked it from end to end, and then repassed the river before the chief of Halfya could collect a force to take his revenge. The cavalry of Shouus, in the course of the campaign, have swam over the Nile five times: both horse and man are trained to do this thing, inimitable, I believe, by any other cavalry in the world. Shouus, since his joining us, has rendered very important services to the Pasha, as he is thoroughly acquainted with the strength, resources, and riches of all the tribes of the Nile, from the second Cataract to Sennaar and Darfour: his horses' feet are familiar with the sod and sand of all these countries, which he and his freebooters have repeatedly traversed. On our march from Berber to Shendi, I ran some risk of falling into his hands, as Shouus was continually prowling about in our neighborhood, from the time of our quitting Berber. Two nights before we reached Shendi, I stopped on the route, at a village, to take some refreshment, letting the army go by me. About an hour and a half after, I mounted my horse to follow the troops, but, owing to the state of my eyes, I missed my way, after wandering back-wards and forwards to find the track of the troops, about two hours after midnight, I descried the rockets always thrown aloft during our night marches, to direct all stragglers to the place where the Pasha had encamped. I put my horse to his speed, and arrived there a little before dawn.]
[ During the night of the 22d, I received an order from the Pasha to precede the march of the troops, and pick out a spot near Halfya to encamp his army on, in the European manner. Mr. Caillaud was requested to accompany me in this duty. Mr. Caillaud candidly told me that he was not a military man, and left the affair entirely to me. I chose a fine position on the river, about two miles above Halfya, in the rear of which was plenty of grass for the horses and camels. The Pasha, however, did not choose to come so far, but pitched his camp on the low sand flats before Halfya, near which there was no grass for the camels, who, during the five days following, perished in great numbers. He had undoubtedly his reasons for this, among which not the least important was, to be near enough to Halfya to have the town within reach of his cannon, as the Malek of Halfya had not as yet submitted. The Pasha, however, had like to have had serious cause to repent of having taken this position, when the river rose, and threatened to inundate his camp. Luckily it did not reach the ammunition, otherwise we should probably have been left without the means of defending ourselves.
This overflowing of the Nile was occasioned by the rise of the Bahar el Abiud, which, this year at least, commenced its annual augmentation nearly a month sooner than the Nile.]
[ The troops of Shouus and the Abbadies swam their horses and dromedaries over the river. Cogia Achmet, one of the chiefs of the army, in endeavoring to imitate the cavalry of Shageia, lost seventy horses and some soldiers. The rest of the horses and camels of the army were taken over by arranging them by the sides of the boats, with their halters held in hand by the people in the boats. Another large portion of our horses and camels was taken over by the Shageias and the Abbadies, who fastened at the breast of each horse, and over the neck of each camel of ours, so carried over, an empty water-skin blown up with air, which prevented the animal from sinking, while their guides swam by their sides, and so conducted them over.]
[ The same day that the camp marched from the Bahar el Abiud, Mr. Caillaud and Mr. Frediani embarked in the boats to go to Sennaar, by the river, in order to have an opportunity of visiting the ruins of "Soba," which lie on the east side of the Nile, not far above from its junction with the Bahar el Abiud. When these gentlemen rejoined us at Sennaar, they informed me that almost the very ruins of this city have perished; they found, however, there some fragments of a temple, and of some granite, statues of lions: the city itself, they said, had been built of brick. This city of "Soba" probably takes its name from "Saba," the son of Cush, who first colonized this country, which is called, in the Hebrew Bible, "the land of Cush and Saba."—See Gen. x. 7. See the references in a Concordance to the Hebrew Bible, under the heads of "Cush," and "Saba."
If there were any pyramids near Saba, I should believe it to be the ancient Meroe, because Josephus represents that the ancient name of Meroe was "Saba." "Nam Saba urbs eadem fuisse perhibetur quae a Cambyse Meroe in uxoris honorem dicta est:" quoted from Eichom's ed. of Sim. Heb. Lex. artic. Sameh Bet Alef
It was impossible for me to ask of the Pasha liberty to accompany the gentlemen abovementioned, as a battle was expected in a few days between us and the king of Sennaar, from which I would not have been absent on any consideration.]
[ The people of Dongola, Shageia, Berber, Shendi, and Sennaar, do not use mills to make meal. They reduce grain to meal by rubbing it a handful at a time between two stones—one fixed in the ground, and one held by the hands. By long and tedious friction, the grain is reduced to powder. This labor is performed by the women, as is almost all the drudgery of the people of the Upper Nile.]
[ On my return from Sennaar, I descended by the river as far as Berber. On the way I did see some few water-wheels, which, however, were employed merely to water the patches of ground devoted to raising vegetables.]
[ The Pasha had invited the Malek of Shendi and the Malek of Halfya to accompany him to Sennaar. The Malek of Halfya excused himself on account of his age and infirmities, but sent his eldest son along with the Pasha. By this stroke of policy the Pasha made the tranquility of the powerful provinces of Shendi and Halfya certain; and the advance of his army without risk from an insurrection in his rear; as the people of those provinces would hardly dare to make any hostile movement while the chief of one province and the heir of the Malek of the other were in our camp. Nymmer, the Malek of Shendi, is a grave and venerable man of about 65 years of age, very dignified in his deportment, and highly respectable for his morals. The Malek of Halfya I have not seen.]
[ The present Sultan of Sennaar is a young man of about 26 years of age; he is black, his mother having been a Egress. He was taken out of prison, where he had been confined for eighteen years by his predecessor, who was massacred by the party who placed him upon the throne. This revolution had taken place not very long before our march to Sennaar. His name is Bady.]
[ The natives told me that this palace had been built eighteen years ago, by the late good Sultan that they had had, who had planted before it rows of trees, which had been destroyed when the palace was ruined, as I understood them, in the wars between the different competitors for the throne during the last eighteen years.]
[ The river Nile lost its transparency four days before the army reached Sennaar. The day that presents the river troubled, marks the commencement of its augmentation. The day before we observed this change in the Nile, its waters were very clear and transparent. The day after, they were brown with mud.]
[ Sennaar has three market-places. On our arrival we found them deserted, but on assurances from the Pasha that all sellers should receive a fair price for their commodities, the principal one in a few days began to be filled. The articles I saw there during my stay in Sennaar, were as follows: Meat of camels, kine, sheep, and goats; a few cat-fish from the river, plenty of a vegetable called meholakea; some limes, a few melons, cucumbers, dried barmea, a vegetable common in Egypt; beans, durra, duchan, tobacco of the country, plenty of gum arable, with which, by the way, Sennaar abounds, (the natives use it in their cookery;) drugs and spices brought from Gidda, among which I observed ginger, pepper, and cloves; and great quantities of dried odoriferous herbs found in Sennaar, with which the natives season their dishes; to which must be added, aplenty of the long cotton cloths used for dress in Sennaar. Such were the articles offered for sale by the people of the country. In addition to which, the suttlers of our army offered for sale, tobacco, coffee, rice, sugar, shirts, drawers, shoes, gun flints, &c. &c. all at a price three or four times greater than they could be bought for at Cairo. In some parts of the market-place the Turks established coffee-houses, and the Greeks who accompanied the army, cook-shops. These places became the resort of every body who wanted to buy something to eat, or to hear the news of the day. There might be seen soldiers in their shirts and drawers, hawking about their breeches for sale in order to be able to buy a joint of meat to relish their rations of durra withal, and cursing bitterly their luck in that they had not received any pay for eight months; while the solemn Turk of rank perambulated the area, involved, like pious Eneas at Carthage, in a veil of clouds exhaling from a long amber headed pipe. All around you you might hear much hard swearing in favor of the most palpable lies; the seller in favor of his goods, and the buyer in favor of his Egyptian piasters. In one place a crowd collects around somebody or other lying on the ground without his head on, on account of some misdemeanor; a little farther on, thirty or forty soldiers are engaged in driving, with repeated strokes of heavy mallets, sharp pointed pieces of timber, six or eight inches square, up the posteriors of some luckless insurgents who had had the audacity to endeavor to defend their country and their liberty; the women of the country meantime standing at a distance, and exclaiming, "that it was scandalous to make men die in so indecent a manner, and protesting that such a death was only fit for a Christian," (a character they hold in great abhorrence, probably from never having seen one). Such was the singular scene presented to the view by the market-place of Sennaar.]
[ The occasion of this expedition was as follows:—On our arrival at Sennaar, and after the accord made between the Pasha and the Sultan of Sennaar, by which the latter surrendered his kingdom to the disposal of the Vizier of the Grand Seignor, the Pasha sent circulars throughout all the districts of the kingdom notifying the chiefs of this act, and summoning them to come in to him and render their homage. The Chief of the Mountaineers, inhabiting the mountains south and south-west of Sennaar (the capital), not only refused to acknowledge the Pasha, but even to receive his letter. On this, the Pasha sent Cogia Achmet, one of the roughest of his chiefs, with thirteen hundred cavalry, escorting three, brazen-faced lawyers, out of the ten the Pasha had brought with him in order to talk with the people of the upper country, to bring this man and his followers to reason.]
[ Several of the chiefs of Eastern Sennaar had refused to recognize the act of the Sultan, calling him "a coward" and "a traitor," for surrendering their country to a stranger. Some of them took up arms, which occasioned the expedition commanded by the Divan Effendi.]
[ I must confess that I was much shocked and disgusted by this act on the part of the Pasha, especially as he had shown so many traits of humanity in the lower country, which was undoubtedly one of the principal causes of its prompt submission. This execution was excused in the camp, by saying, that it would strike such terror as would repress all attempts at insurrection, and would consequently prevent the effusion of much blood. It may have been consistent with the principles of military policy, but I feel an insurmountable reluctance to believe it.]
[ They told me the names of these rivers, which I put down upon a sheet of paper devoted to preserving the names of some of the principal Maleks of the country. In my journey back this paper has disappeared from among my notes and papers, which has been a subject of great vexation to me.]
[ The people of Sennaar also believed that our boats could not pass the third cataract; and, therefore, their opinion with regard to the shellal at Sulluk is not to be relied on.]
[ The rainy season in Sennaar, at least the commencement of it, such as I found it, may be thus described: Furious squalls of wind in the course of one or two hours, coming from all points of the compass, bringing and heaping together black clouds charged with electric matter; for twelve or fifteen hours an almost continual roar of thunder, and, at intervals, torrents of rain; after which, the sky would be clear for two, three, or four days at a time.]
[ It is nevertheless possible that this fly may be found in that part of the kingdom of Sennaar which lies on the other side of the Adit.]
[ It was in the house where I quartered, at Sennaar, that I saw this singular animal. I jogged Khalil Aga, my countryman and companion, to look at it. He burst cut into an exclamation, "by God, that snake has got legs." He jumped up and seized a stick in order to kill and keep it as a curiosity, but it dodged his blow, and darted away among the baggage, which was overhauled without finding it, as it had undoubtedly escaped into some hole in the clay wall of the house. Mr. Constant, the gentleman, who accompanies Mr. Caillaud, was present at the time, so that I am convinced that what I saw was not an ocular delusion. I have been informed, since my return to Egypt, that the figure of this animal is to be seen sculptured upon the ancient monuments of Egypt.]
[ The people of Sennaar catch, cook and eat, without scruple, cats, rats and mice; and those who are rich enough to buy a wild hog, fatten it up and make a feast of it. I had heard in the lower country that the people of Sennaar made no scruple to eat swine's flesh, but I absolutely refused to believe that a people calling themselves Mussulmans could do this from choice. But after my arrival in Sennaar I was obliged to own that I had been mistaken. The species of hog found in the kingdom of Sennaar is small and black; it is not found in that part of the kingdom called "El Gezira," i.e. the island, but is caught in the woody mountains of the country near Abyssinia. In the house of one Malek in Sennaar was found about a dozen of these animals fattening for his table.]
[ The mountains of Bokki border upon the kingdom of Fezoueli, which lies south of Sennaar twenty days march. The mountains of Fezoueli are supposed to contain gold mines; pieces of gold are frequently found in the torrents that flow from those mountains in the rainy season. A native of that country told the Pasha Ismael, that he had seen a piece of gold, found in those mountains, as big as the bottom part of the silver narguil of his Excellence, i.e. about six inches in diameter. That there is gold in that country, is certain, as the female prisoners, taken at Bokki, had many gold rings and bracelets, of which they were quickly disencumbered by our soldiers. The Pasha intends to visit Fezoueli after the rainy season is over, to find the veins from whence this gold is washed down by the torrents, and, in case of success, to work the mines.]
[ We passed Attar Baal the same night. The reader is aware that a boat carrying a courier, could not be detained to give a passenger an opportunity to see ruins.]
[ The "Adit," or Nile of Bruce, enters the Bahar el Abiud nearly at right angles, but such is the mass of the latter river, that the Nile cannot mingle its waters with those of the Bahar el Abiud for many miles below their junction. The waters of the Adit are almost black during the season of its augmentation; those of the Bahar el Abiud, on the contrary, are white: so that for several miles below their junction, the eastern part of the river is black, and the western is white. This white color of the Bahar el Abiud is occasioned by a very fine white clay with which its waters are impregnated. At the point of junction between the Bahar el Abiud and the Adit, the Bahar el Abiud is almost barred across by an island and a reef of rocks; this barrier checks its current, otherwise it would probably almost arrest the current of the Adit. It is, nevertheless, sufficiently strong to prevent the Adit from mingling with it immediately, although the current of the Adit is very strong, and enters the Bahar el Abiud nearly at right angles.]
[ Since my return to Egypt, we have learned that this army, after some bloody battles, had succeeded in taking possession of Darfour and Kordofan.]
[ The provinces lying on the third Cataract, between Shageia and Berber, are called, 1st, Monasier; 2d, Isyout, 3d, El Raba Tab.]
[ He came up in one of the nine boats that were able to pass, as mentioned before.]
[ As the people of these countries dislike the piasters of Egypt, I bought a quantity of soap at Sennaar from the Greeks who accompanied the army as sutlers, in order to serve as a medium of exchange; for in most of the provinces on the Upper Nile, they prefer soap to any thing you can offer, except dollars, or the gold coin of Constantinople.]
[ Khalil Aga, a native of New York, took the turban a few weeks before the departure of Ismael Pasha from Cairo. Learning that I was to accompany his Excellence, he requested me to obtain of the Pasha that he might be attached to me during the expedition. He is probably the first individual that ever traversed the whole of the river Nile from Rosetti to Sennaar. I have done the same, except about two hundred miles of the third cataract.]
[ This I suppose to be the point where terminates the singular bend in the river noticed in the former part of my journal.]
[ The wind, during the day, was constantly from the north, which was the general direction of our march from the time we quitted the river till we reached it again, so that we had the breezes always in our faces. The air of the desert is so very dry that no part of my body was moistened by perspiration except the top of my head, which was sheltered from the influence of the sun and air by the folds of my turban. I did not feel incommoded by heat in the desert when out of the sun's rays, but on arriving at Assuan I found it almost intolerable.]
[ The names of the wells in the desert of Omgourann, between Berber and Seboo, are as follows:—1st, Apseach. 2d, Morat. 3d, El Medina. 4th, Amrashee, 5th, Mogareen. In the two latter, water is only found after heavy rains.]
[ Close by this rock was the skull of some wretched man who had perished on this spot. All along our route we saw hundreds of skeletons of camels. The skull that we saw probably belonged to one of two Mogrebin soldiers who deserted at Berber, in order to return to. Egypt, and who both perished with thirst in the desert.]
[ Our guide, an Abadie, would not permit the camels of our caravan to be watered at the well of Apseach, saying, that if he did, all the water then in the well would be consumed, and the consequence would be, that the nest traveler that came might perish with thirst.]
[ The ground near the well of Morat is full of scorpion holes. On my arrival at midnight I spread my carpet on the ground and slept soundly. In the morning when it was taken up, we found under it a scorpion, I am sure four inches in length, its color green and yellow. I was told that they abound near all the wells of the desert, and I have seen very many at different places on the borders of the river.]
[ Which we found to be the case till we came within fifteen hours march of the Nile.]
[ Out of the twenty-two camels that we had commenced our march with from Berber, only twelve reached the river.]
[ This was occasioned by the heat of the sun and the dryness of the air of the desert, which made nearly two fifths of our water to evaporate.]
[ Before we entered the desert our caravan had been joined by several runaway domestics, who had fled from the army to return to Egypt.]
[ The soldier of the Cadilaskier before mentioned, who was the conductor, i.e. the chief of the caravan, had recourse to a singular expedient to rouse one of them whom the whip could not stir. He seized his purse of money, which this man carried in his bosom, swearing that if he chose to stop and die there he might, and that he would be his heir and inherit his purse. This testamentary disposition on the part of the soldier had a wonderful effect. The man got up from the sand and walked forward very briskly, calling upon the soldier to restore the purse, as he was determined not to lie down any more till he reached the river. The soldier, however, observing the effect of his proceeding, retained the purse till we arrived at the river, when he restored it.]
[ The last time I saw him was when I gave him part of the last bowl; he kissed my slipper, shedding abundance of tears, and saying that I was the only one of the caravan that had shown him mercy. I bade him keep up a good heart, for that on the morrow morning, by the blessing of God, we should be at the river.]
[ Directly opposite Seboo, on the other bank of the river, stands an ancient Egyptian temple. Seboo is four days march of a camel above Assuan.]
[ The reason for their refusal I afterwards learned, was, that they believed that the lad was already dead, and that therefore they should miss the reward promised.]
[ Three days after my arrival at Assuan I had news of the fate of this lad, from a Nubian voyager of the desert, on his way to Assuan, who had found him, thirty-six hours after our arrival at Seboo, lying in the ravine leading to the river, but almost dead. He had stopped, it seems, to sleep a few hours, believing that sleep would refresh him, and that he could do it without danger, as the river was not many hours off. On his awaking, he found himself so weak that it was with great difficulty that he reached the ravine, where he fell. The traveler gave him water, and placed him on his dromedary, and brought him to the river, but he was too far gone; he died in a half an hour after he reached it. The last words he spoke, this man told me, related to his God, his prophet, and his mother: this traveler dug his grave and buried him. I told this man that I had offered a reward at Seboo to whoever would bring this unfortunate young man to the river, and that I would give the money to him as a recompense for having done all he could do in such a case. The man, to my astonishment, replied, "that it was not money that he would take as a reward for what he had done; that he would receive no reward for it but from the hands of God, who would pay more for it than I could." I told him that I was happy to have found a Mussulman mindful of the precepts of the Koran, which inculcate charity and benevolence to all those who are in distress, and that the record of such deeds would occupy a great space on the almost blank page of our good actions.]